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Keep you Laws off my SUV...

If you don't like SUV'S then don't drive one...
Americans like the environment. But this November's elections also demonstrate that Americans don't particularly like the environmental movement. Why? Perhaps it's the moral self-righteousness, political shrillness, and, well, sheer loopiness that is part-and-parcel of Green rhetoric today. The growing campaign to shame people out of their SUVs is a clear case in point.

First, consider the loopiness. "What would Jesus drive?" asks the Rev. Bill Ball, director of something called the Evangelical Environmental Network and winner of the "15 minutes of fame" award in the print media last week. "Jesus wants his followers to drive the least-polluting, most efficient vehicle that truly meets their needs — though first he might look at other ways to get around." The media, which ate this guy up, report that Rev. Ball plans to spend $65,000 to convince Americans that the road to salvation lies in selling their SUVs.

Some rather obvious questions, of course, come to mind. First, would Jesus rather have Rev. Ball spend $65,000 to campaign against energy consumption or spend that money to feed the hungry or help the sick? Second, how in the world does Rev. Ball know Jesus's opinion about automotive engineering (is there a "Book of Ford" in the New Testament that I somehow missed)? Third, because we know that SUVs are safer to drive than the cars Rev. Ball would have us buy (a matter put to bed once and for all in a study issued by the National Academy of Sciences two years ago), would Jesus really want us to put our loved ones at risk to eek out a few more miles per gallon?

For shrillness, however, you can't beat the indefatigable Arianna Huffington or her sidekick, Bill Maher (late of Politically Incorrect). Huffington, for her part, has put together a national ad campaign arguing that, if you're driving an SUV, you're complicit in al Qaeda's terrorism. Maher, not to be outdone, has written a book entitled When You Ride Alone You Ride with bin Laden. Indeed, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting some smug blue-state wise guy who relishes turning the tables on SUV-driving "Red America" for their supposed lack of patriotism.

Never mind the fact that 80 percent of the gasoline we put in our tanks is refined from oil bought from outside the Persian Gulf. Never mind the fact that al Qaeda is funded not by the oil sheiks but by bin Laden's personal fortune (derived long ago from his family's construction business), criminal schemes run by entrepreneurial terrorists, wealthy Muslims who seem to have made their fortune outside of the oil business, and charity scams that harvest money from unsuspecting Muslims who think their dollars are going to war orphans. In fact, should al Qaeda win this war, it's the guys running the Persian Gulf oil fields today who'll be the first to hang — and they know it. The idea that Saudi Aramco or the Kuwaiti royal family is bankrolling al Qaeda on the side is half-baked nonsense.

Finally, there's the constant admonition from the self-righteous that SUVs are choking the life out of our "Big Blue Marble" and that only mindless materialism, greed, and self-absorption explains the lack of concern SUV drivers have for others. What goes unacknowledged, however, is that America's romance with SUVs coincided with tremendous improvements in air quality. Since 1980, ambient concentrations of carbon monoxide have dropped 61 percent, leaving only two small towns in California in violation of federal winter smog standards. Likewise in 1984, half of America's cities were in violation of federal summer smog standards, with those cities averaging 12 violations a year. By last year, however, only 14 percent of America's cities were in violation of those standards, with those cities experiencing but four violations a year. Sulfur dioxide emissions (the cause of acid rain) fell by 31 percent since 1980; lead emissions by 94 percent; and small particulate matter (perhaps the most dangerous air pollutant) by 50 percent. Clearly, SUVs and the environment can coexist nicely.

And as far as self-indulgence is concerned, where are those critics when they need a lift to the supermarket or hospital in the midst of a snowstorm? Cadging a ride of their SUV-driving neighbors, that's where. Where are they when they need to haul some new furniture or whatnot home from the store? Borrowing the neighbor's SUV more likely than not. When a troop of kids needs to be carted off to some activity, it's the neighborhood SUV-driving parent who plays bus driver, freeing other parents from duty and thereby keeping at least a couple of extra cars off the road. And should an accident occur, it's the SUV that is statistically more likely to save little Johnny from death or dismemberment — the hybrid battery-powered car is more likely to turn said Johnny into a pancake.

Look, if you don't like SUVs, don't drive them. But the high moral horse rode by SUVs' critics is in reality a low, half-witted donkey.
I'm Changing the Climate 18.Dec.2002 16:20

Ask Me How!

MUST-SEE VIDEO #1 and #2
(each video has choice Mac & PC version. #2 is HILARIOUS)
 http://www.changingtheclimate.com/video.html

 http://www.changingtheclimate.com/index.html
Our Mission:

This campaign is designed to tell the world what we think of those mindless suburban drones that insist on getting 8 mpg while driving their kids to soccer practice. Join us as we direct our social activist energies toward the exciting new sport of Big Game SUV Hunting.

Feel the adrenaline rush of stalking the really big game - like the Denali™, Yukon™, or Tahoe™. Get the thrill of witnessing the tagging of an Excursion™, Expedition™, or Escalade™ with a not-so-subtle message that will leave them scratching their heads.

We are trying to use ridicule and social embarrassment to change the habits of the American consumer. Increasing publicity will turn the SUV from a status trinket to the badge of shame that it is. In the old days society had a pillory to shame people out of anti-social behavior. Today we have the mighty Bumper Sticker  http://www.changingtheclimate.com/bumpersticker.html This brings us to the next issue, publicity.

The idea of this Web site is to stigmatize the insanity of mindless American consumerism and vapid status acquisition. The all too common image of the single commuter, mom on an errand to the local shopping center, or parent taking their kid to softball practice in a bloated gas guzzling behemoth is enraging those citizens who have a sliver of conscience regarding their lifestyle and the environment.

Now those people who have a legitimate need for these gas hogs, business people who have to haul stuff around and really need the automotive version of the Exxon Valdez to do it should be spared. That leaves 95% of the SUV's on the road that never get dirty or use their 4 wheel drive as fair game.


yeah... 18.Dec.2002 16:29

this thing here

... you suckers keep falling for that masculine imagery, with "big" trucks going over "big" rocks, and big pick-ups hauling big pipes. you keep falling for that imagery, while you drive around on smooth paved streets without ever getting your vehicle dirty, without ever going over any bump larger than a freakin pothole, without ever hauling a load bigger than a few people and some groceries. and keep paying $35 dollars at the pump twice as often as a car owner. keep falling for the image, which everyone else can see right through.

there are legitimate reasons to own and operate a chevy suburban and F-350 super duty. driving to the fucking mall, trying to impress people isn't one of them.

what's that whining sound I hear? 18.Dec.2002 18:17

steve

Oh, that's right--it's big tough suburban America crying about how somebody's trying to take their toys away. Boo Fucking Hoo!

Not driving an SUV doesn't exactly help when all these other Captain Insecurity motherfuckers are driving around in massive Yuppie Assault Vehicles that are only 'safer' because whoever's lucky enough to be on the receiving end of an out-of-control Dodge Durango prosthetic scrotum gets to absorb all of the momentum built up from accelerating all that manly padding up to 30 miles an hour.

There's nothing an SUV can do that a pickup truck or minivan can't do better. These paragons of machismo who are so tough they live out in the boonies so they don't have to see big, scary black people need to stop fooling themselves into thinking it isn't obvious that they're middle-aged and work sitting in front of a computer all day. They need to power-walk back to fucking reality and quit endangering everyone else for the sake of their fragile midlife-crisis self-esteem.

Where do you get this shit?

fighting the rhetoric 18.Dec.2002 18:21

someone

Although you have a point that if someone wants to spend a ridiculous amount of money to be trendy they have every right to do it (although, perhaps not if it endagers others), unfortunately, most americans, like yourself, are badly misinformed to the statistics of SUV's.

SUV's are more likely to get into accidents because of:
* high rate of roll-over
* longer braking distances
* less maneuverability

As for survivability, some statistics indicate that SUV's may be more surviveable, but only in cases where they impact smaller cars which, of course, reduces the surviveability of those cars. So you may be more likely to survive an accident but you will be more likely to kill someone else in an accident. Or in your example, you save little Johnny but kill little Betty in the other car. I think that's a trade-off that people should be made aware of.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS,  http://www.iihs.org), "In single vehicle crashes, heavy vehicles with stiff frames (most SUVs) might actually do more to harm the vehicle's occupants because there is little give, or energy absorption engineering, to dissipate the force of running into an immovable object."

How much for the biggest damn truck you have? 18.Dec.2002 18:50

former suv owner

"Americans like the environment."

This is the most valueless statement I have ever seen. What you are saying is that Americans don't want to have a mass human die off becuase of an environmental catastrophe but, at the same time, are not willing to prevent one by getting rid of their 2 ton grocery getters.

Oil doesn't fund terrorists? You idiot! I suppose you believe the Saudi princes, Bush family, and _________ (fill in the blank) get their money by selling smiles and hugs.

SUV's are way too dangerous for those driving them, those hit by them, and the environment, which is polluted and run over by them.

Take your 4 wheel drive, 2 ton, grocery getting, attention getting, 2 parking space using, gas guzzling, wannabee shitty p-diddy, fake pimp, soccer mom, "king of the road," vehicular-penile compensating, "jeez i feel tall," "like a rock(TM), SUV and shove it right up your....what was I saying?

Could you even be more of a slave to advertisers?

Well... 18.Dec.2002 22:09

Trilox

What if a "mindless suburban drone" such as myself drove a late model pollution controlled SUV 9000 miles in a year versus some pothead vegen from SE who drives a piece of shit 1975 Volvo with worn out piston rings and valve guides drives 13,000 miles in year? Now tell me who the heck is creating more pollution you brain dead fools.

You fry-brains only hate brand new shiny SUV's because you are either too stupid or too lazy to make enough money to afford one so now you are just jealous...

hmmm . . . . 18.Dec.2002 22:20

??

('Trilox'): " ...because you are either too stupid or too lazy to ***make enough money to afford one*** so now you are just jealous..."

this statement quite literally applies to 99% of the Earth's human population.
hmmm . . . .
hmmm . . . .

old vehicles, big trucks 18.Dec.2002 22:29

i drive

i am not going to defend suv's, but i am wondering why no one ever complains about the old cars on the road that guzzle a lot more gas and have awful emmissions. or what about big trucks? or rv's? many suv's get more than 8 mpg.

why not focus our energy on moving out of our dependence on oil and then we would have no need to worry about what everyone is driving.

HUH? 18.Dec.2002 22:31

Trilox

Hey hmmm, you couldn't answer the question of who made more pollution could you dumbshit?

He is at it again 18.Dec.2002 22:42

pr0jektkancer

The goat is at it again. If you keep feeding him, he won't go away. Stop giving him the fuel he needs, as enraging as his comments can be.

What an intellect! 18.Dec.2002 23:09

the mirror

Some people create their own arguments to justify their own values--so that they don't see something hideous when they look in the mirror. I don't know you, Trilox, but that's what it looks like to me, a casual observer.

"Now tell me who the heck is creating more pollution you brain dead fools."

Well, fine, the Volvo is. But wake up. Most people protesting the pollution of SUVs don't transport themselves in ways that are worse (than SUVs) for the environment. So you just go right on ahead and latch on to that cute little example and apply it to ALL of us SUV protestors. Tell yourself that we support a person polluting in a '75 Volvo. It won't change the reality that the extra pollution AND energy consumption from SUVs is a very bad thing.

the end 18.Dec.2002 23:42

.

Trilox, crawl back in your hole, you small-dick wonder.

A neat little quote from somebody's sig 19.Dec.2002 00:19

Ktesibios

"Never lend your drill to a man who lives in the city and drives an SUV, for he has no concept of using the right tool for the job.

Whatever he asks for, lend him your sledgehammer. He will not know the difference and will be happy."

Wow, i quit reading early, but 19.Dec.2002 10:19

cw

As for what Jesus would drive (a bicycle of course), and whether Jesus would spend an enormous sum on removing suvs from the raods or feeding the hungry:

Fewer SUVs (and other cars too, but SUVs r the most flagrant offenders)on the road would mean fewer hungry people in the world. Start with Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of children have starved to death as a result of US sanctions, or have been bombed by US planes. This is the result of pernicious oil politics/avarice, which is directly related to your desire to drive an SUV. What gives you the right?

As for whether SUVs are safer, not by a long shot. Even ignoring the good facts presented above concerning the rollover rates of SUVs, even if you do believe you're safer surrounded by all that metal, it may be so for you, but you're a danger on the road to everyone else. Specifically to those who are trying to reduce emissions by driving smaller cars or riding bikes. Your big metal penis is very dangerous to them, should it roll over or stray from the road, you know, as they're known to do. So again, what gives you the right?

Another question: WWAD? (What Would an Asshole Drive?)

Answer: And SUV with an american flag waving from the antenna. U just don't get it.

We all pollute to some extent 19.Dec.2002 20:39

ranger

This topic always enrages either side. I personally know that SUV's are over rated, as others have noted. They are not safe, and they are over priced. However, I don't see a problem with someone who uses a SUV to truly carry numerous passengers on a regular basis, but this is rarely the case. I also do not have a problem with pick up trucks used to carry more than groceries. As far as the commercials, few, if any, use them off the road as depicted in these ads. In fact, they are encouraging environmental degradation. I used to travel through the mountains with my 2 WD ford escort wagon (34 mpg) and what did I see in the ditches? - SUV's. I now own a pick up (25 mpg Hwy) and use it for home repair jobs, carrying equipment fo training, etc. People do have a right to buy what they wish, and SUV's are not the only form of pollution. I've seen as much pollution come from some of those diesel powered compacts. Portland's buses are horrendous as are most trucks, thanks to relaxed rules. I know people who burn their garbage, plastic and all. That creates more harmful pollution than any 10 SUV's. Our use of electrical power is harmful to the environment (either hydroelectric power (daming) or coal fired plants (SO2). Add to that all the chemicals you use on a daily basis that is emitted into the atmosphere or dumped down the drain, and all the pollution generated by industries that you suupoort by buying their products; plastic, et al. Very few of us do not pollute. However, some of us are not even trying. It all adds up.

Out of my hole.... 20.Dec.2002 01:17

Trilox

. wrote: Trilox, crawl back in your hole, you small-dick wonder.

Actually, I'm quite well-endowed. In fact, I've just been gnawing on it. I'll bet you're jealous, but I might share.

Busses 20.Dec.2002 10:48

Calvin dr_calvin@hotmail.com

Ranger, while busses individually pollute more than SUVs, if you look at their polutants per year *per person*, it is much less than SUVs. Each year a bus produces 0.1 tons of waste per person, while SUVs and trucks get ~ 4-5 tons of waste per person. And that's on regular fossil fuels, once Portland adopts biofuels (made from either waste grease or corn oil), it'll be minimal.

Calvin

to ranger 20.Dec.2002 12:19

cw

No, people don't "have the right to buy whatever they want." First, some people can't afford what they need, let alone what they want. Second, people who suck up more resources than they really need are not within their rights. They are allowed to because our society is poisoned by avarice. But that doesn't make it right.

Also, you can carry passengers in a smaller, more efficient car. You don't need a gas guzzling SUV for that.

As for you comment about driving a 2wd thru the mountains and seeing SUVs in the ditches, point well taken.

Nobody in America really needs an SUV. We've got this rough frontiersman thing that's really quite pathetic when you consider how really soft we actually are. (At least those of us who are not living in the forests climbing trees to save em. The forest activists are BUFF!) It doesn't make one look big and tough just cuz they drive a big giant meaty SUV. It makes one look foolish and selfish.