Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Ain't That America

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Last night I left work and headed out for my night job at our local university, where I teach a class each semester. The Christmas shopping busyness is in full throttle about now, meaning that all the streets and highways are stacked up in all directions. As I inched along, I couldn't help but notice a gleaming new white SUV in the next lane. Of course, I am driving a white SUV myself--though of course mine is smaller and older (going on 5 years and just turning over my first 100,000 miles.) What especially annoyed me however, was the bumper sticker prominently displayed on back: Impeach Obama. That's Change We Can Believe In. Around here, otherwise hardcore sentiments such as this pass for political moderation. (And for all the lecturing about the Constitution, the real basis for such opposition is not hard to read, at least around here.) And I just hate such snarky, rabid partisanship...unless of course, it is snarky rabid partisanship from my side of the aisle. As I eased forward, I could see in the backseat where a overhead television was playing some Disney movie--perhaps Snow White. I have never understood televisions in cars. God forbid that these little darlings in the backseat should have to undergo an unentertained moment as they are carted from store to store to restaurant, etc. Back in the day, I made my son listen to NPR. Now that he's grown, that's probably why we avoids riding with me anymore. But still, televisions in automobiles are just wrong. A commercial came on, so I turned down the volume on Chris Mathews' Hardball on MSNBC that I was listening to on my Sirius Radio station 090. Easing up a little further, I noticed that the mother behind the wheel had a cross hanging from the rear view mirror--a big gaudy Celtic-y-looking thing that you could see from a block away. I have a cross hanging from my rear-view mirror as well. Of course, mine is a small, tasteful, silver Russian version. Having time to think, it seemed like each effort at condescension on my part was coming back to bite me in the butt. Thankfully, the light changed and I pressed onward, my uncomfortable Pogo* moment having passed.

*We have met the enemy and he is us (Walt Kelly, 1970)

10 comments:

elizabeth said...

Sigh. So like us humans. Lord help us. It is strange to observe ourselves...

*

wishing you good rest of December.

Milton T. Burton said...

I don't like bumper stickers as a general rule, but two in the last few years have earned my approval. The first was noble in its honesty: it said simply "BUMPER STICKER and nothing more. The second was closer to my own heart. IT read JESUS IS COMING BACK, AND BOY, IS HE PISSED.

Mary Alice Cook said...

Boy howdy, can I ever relate to this! Lord, help me to see the log in my own eye before offering assistance with the speck in my sister's. That said, I'm wondering about your assessment of the SUV lady's "real" motivations in favor of our president's impeachment. Are you referring to the "R" word? If so, is it in the same ruefully ironic tone as you mention your other observations? Or not? Just curious...

Becky said...

Oh boy, does that happen to me all the time (the character traits I find so annoying in others turn out to be my own). Lord have mercy. The cross thing happened to me too the other day, with jewelry - real estate agent we met with, absolutely lovely woman, was wearing a huge cross necklace with rhinestones, etc. that was hanging from a triple strand of pearls. I thought to myself "how over the top is that"...then got in the car and saw myself in the mirror with my Russian headscarf and blue Bulgarian cross pendant. Like THAT blends in around here. Pot, kettle, black.

A neighbor of ours has two bumper stickers on his truck that I like. One says "Being Weird Is Not Enough", and the other says "Get Off The Phone And Drive."

John said...

Mary Alice,

As to whether my comments about the bumper sticker are "ruefully ironic,"...well, perhaps so. But I am referencing the R word. That is an incredibly cheap shot on my part, not knowing a thing about the woman other than my observations from the slow lane. But here is where I come down on this sort of thing--There is a time-honored place for the loyal opposition. I understand that. I've been a part of it on both sides of the aisle. But what I see too much of these days is simply ugly and nasty. I have lived here all my life and I know my tribe. I hear the code words, and I understand their real meaning. Finally, I am aware of the true sentiments of too many of the people who express them. To attribute all criticism of President Obama as rascist would just be silly. It would be equally naive, however, to deny that there is that out there.

Dixie said...

Absolutely outstanding...story of my life. Every condescending thought or word eventually comes back to haunt me. God is good!

We used to have our kids to listen to NPR, too. We especially enjoyed being out on Saturday evenings and catching Praire Home Companion while driving the Iowa prairie. But there were consequences to that. Now our oldest is a bit more NPR-ish than we would have planned for--and you won't find a cross small or large, garish or tasteful, hanging from his rear view mirror.

That is my husband's favorite Pogo quote...true it is.

Bill M said...

On long trips (and short) the kids forced us to listen to "Jungle Jam and Friends" and I think we are all the better for it. :)

Good (humbling) thoughts on looking at others and seeing ourselves. Thanks.

Mary Alice Cook said...

John, thanks for the thoughtful response. Though the bumper sticker woman may not be motivated by it, I agree that racism is still very much with us (no matter how much we might be beguiled into thinking otherwise). You are also right about the ugly, nasty tone in so much of our national discourse, from both sides. I am a newbie to blogs and blog comments, so my question probably came across as a challenge. Forgive me and God bless!

John said...

Mary Alice,

I didn't take your response that way at all. Truth be told, I hesitated before inserting that parenthetical phrase in the post, since it distracts from the main point I was trying to make. I now think it would have been better without it.

Are you back "up North," or are you still down here?

Mary Alice Cook said...

I'm way up north where the snow is deep and the temps are lo-o-o-w. Wishing you a blessed and bright Feast!