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The Gross National Debt

Monday, December 12, 2005

I don't know what's wrong with me these days.  Perhaps it's holiday stress; perhaps it's personal stress; perhaps it's work stress - or some lethal combination of the three - but I totally lost it as I was driving on the Washington DC beltway today.

No, I didn't pull out a shotgun and commit roadrage - I didn't run anyone off the road or ram another car in anger (been there, done that - totally different story - ask me sometime).  But I still lost it.

This is what set me off:

More after the flip.

The DC beltway is not for the faint-of-heart, particularly any time between the hours of 6:30am and 7:30pm on any weekday.  People are in a constant rush.  Getting anywhere, even anywhere close by in Washington DC is a total crap shoot.  And, granted, I'm not the most patient driver in the world.  I have absolutely no patience for anyone going slower than I want to in the left-hand lane.  My basic approach is this: everyone's the enemy and they're all out to get in your way and slow you down.  Therefore I drive way ahead and seek to maneuver (safely, mind you) around people who are obvious bottlenecks in the flow of traffic.

Today I got behind a guy in a big-ass Suburban.  It was one of the older ones - kind of maroon but really dirty from all the chemicals and salt they've used to clear the roads of ice and snow lately.  He was doing about 65 in the left hand lane of the beltway and I like to go about 75.  The other three lanes were all moving along at about 63mph - just slow enough that I wouldn't accomplish anything by switching lanes yet just fast enough to never actually be passed by Mr. Suburban.  I was stuck.  Under the layers of dirt on his bumper his sticker caught my eye - "Sportsmen for Bush".  It was in good shape - not old or faded or cracked.

My eyes flashed at the back of the Suburban in anger and I said, out loud, "It's your goddamned fault you idiot."  No one else was in the car with me.  I said it loud.  A hole opened up in the lane next to me to get around this guy and continue on my merry way.  I went for it - hit the gas etc. - but slowed down just long enough when I was abreast of him to flip him a very visible bird.  He probably thought it was because I wanted to pass him - but it wasn't.  It was because he voted for Bush.

It was more than that, though, and my gesture-inducing rage made me pause and think for a bit once I was moving along.  I can understand, I suppose, having voted for him in 2000.  I didn't, I wouldn't have (and didn't) advise anyone else to vote for him, but hey - he got elected because some proportion of people voted for him.  Although it's a stretch, I can even, if I squint and concentrate really hard, understand a tepid but grudging vote for him in 2004 - stay the course - don't change horses - all that stuff.

I guess what I'm saying is that I can forgive poor decisions if, once realization is achieved, the decision is regretted.  But the presence of these stickers on these cars around the Washington beltway doesn't indicate a hint of regret.

So as I'm driving along, pondering that, I get behind another big-ass vehicle going more slowly than my preference in the left-hand lane.  I'm hip now - I'm looking for these bumper stickers - and this is what I saw:

On the bumper of a shiny, garage-kept banana-yellow Hummer H3.  The sticker itself was sparkling, just like the car.  It occurred to me, as my rage flashed, that the H3 is brand new model vehicle.  That means that the owner of that shiny, gas-guzzling, garage-kept H3 (who was a woman, by the way, not that it matters) went out of her way to ensure that that sticker made it onto her new car.  This wasn't some January or February 2001 sticker - this was I-put-it-on-in-the-last-few-months sticker.

I flipper her off as I went around her, too.

As I crossed the bridge back into Virginia I was thinking about all the wonders of the Bush administration:

If you voted for him, wouldn't you at least have the decency to be embarrassed by him, to scrape off the stickers that are emblematic of your support for him, today, after everything that's happened???

posted by RenaRF at 9:14 PM 15 comments links to this post


Blogger Defiant Symmetry said...

Ah, sadly, some still think that Bush in office now is a good thing. I don't know what rock they're living under, but I understand your rage. I try hard to contain mine as well.. And, good luck with the DC Beltway. You couldn't pay me enough to drive there during rush hour anymore. I'm glad I only need to take 95 for the most part.

9:33 PM  
Blogger RenaRF said...

I go from No. VA to Silver Spring all the time - downtown, too. Ugh. But, luckily, I'm able to plan my schedule well enough that I can avoid the worst of it. Otherwise I'd become a hermit. :-)

And yes, the whole idea that people aren't having second thoughts on the President and his deicsions just boggles the mind.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Shane said...

I guess if the Bush folks are happy they won, they have as much right to be obsessed with his victory as you are with Kerry's loss. ;p

I recommend Hawaiian Music or Diana Krall . . . perhaps some relaxing music can calm your rage.

I'm not a fan of morning traffic -- it sucks!

Merry Christmas!

9:48 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

Up here in Michigan where hunting is very popular, I see that bumper sticker ALL the time.


10:25 AM  
Blogger KristieD said...

It seems to me that most of the Bush supporters (and unfortunately i know a few) just love him. They do not see things for what they really are, they swallow what the media spoonfeed them and just keep acting like the sheep they are and following their good ole leader. Hopefully they can begni acting like lemmings and he can lead them off a cliff soon.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Shelly said...

I was trying to start a "Ill give you a quarter for every W04 sticker you let me scrape off your car" campaign here in Tulsa. There are a lot of them. But they are usually greedy lexus driving pricks who are trying to get a $1 out of me.
I'll need to raise some money I guess.

1:09 PM  
Blogger RenaRF said...

Heh. I thought the sticker on the Hummer was especially appalling...

Shelly - I'm in a red state, too (Virginia), and one that went for Bush by a relatively large margin so I see them constantly also. I had a neighbor actually put a Bush/Cheney lawn sign in my yard during last year's elections... he knew it would push my buttons!!

I don't see how anyone could objectively think that our deficits, our war deaths and war expenditures, and our inability to deal with disasters of our own would make people happy.

**Sent from my Blackberry Wireless Handheld**

1:32 PM  
Blogger Larakatt said...

Hey, chin up Rena. I gave them a call and they assured me that the word "gunning" was left out of the stickers between "sportsman" and "for". New stickers are being printed right now.

3:42 PM  
Blogger utenzi said...

Back during the first election, Rena, I got my girlfriend--who's a lot more political than I am--a button to wear that stated:

Stop the BU__SH__

Each of the underlined sections was two spaces and didn't need much imagination to translate into "Stop the bullshit". Unfortunately here, 5 years later, she still needs to wear that button. How in living Hell did he get elected again?

I know, I know. It was rhetorical. Abortion and gay marriage.

10:48 PM  
Blogger RenaRF said...

Utenzi - you should check out Al Franken's new book The Truth - With Jokes. He makes a credible (so far) and well documented arguemtn that it wasn't a "values vote" as many proclaimed. It was a dirty tricks vote plain and simple.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Scott Nolan said...

The good news is that I really believe there are fewer and fewer of these idiots who still support Bush on the roads. I have no scientific analysis tools at hand, but I count pro and anti Bush stickers on cars about one day a week every week that I am in town since the 2004 election.

In 2004 (November and December) it was impossible for me to get to work without passing or being passed by more than 10 of these W, Bush-Cheney, Bush stickers. Going home from work (much later and less traffic) there would be 3-5 of the same. Those same months I'd see 4-6 Kerry-Edwards stickers and 5-7 anti-Bush stichers on the way in, 1-3 Kerry-Edwards, and 3-5 anti-Bush on the way home.

September 2005, things had changed. I still see the occasional W/Bush/Cheny sticker, especially frustrating on brand new vehicles (mostly Excursions, Hummers, Cadillacs), but far fewer of them. In fact, about half the time, I'd get to work without seeing one pro-Bush sticker at all - though some days I'd see as many as 4 (0-4 pro Bush, 1-4 Kerry, 6-9 anti-Bush). A definite improvement, though it is disturbing that with only 2 months left in a statewide Virginia Election I was seeing almost no State election stickers from either side.

November 2005 - finally I see state election stickers (about evenly split between Kaine and Kilgore out here in redneckville), but only 3-5 per morning trip. I see only 0-3 pro Bush stickers, 1-3 Kerry, and 2-5 anti-Bush.

This is not a scientific survey - but I think it may indicate a trend in Prince William, Fairfax, and Loudon counties. Visiting Washington DC or Alexandria is always a joy - because they are clearly saner in sticker choices in both locations (grin).

10:02 AM  
Blogger Geoffrey Hirschfeld said...

The one that pisses me off the most is the B/C "Farm/Ranch team". Why this pisses me off the most is that I own a Thoroughbred, and our family herd is now 5 T-breds. We are all liberal as hell, and this asshole has a. the nerve to say that he is a rancher when he is SCARED TO DEATH of horses and b.signed the bill to get rid of one of the enduring symbols of the American west, the mustang.

I have to admit, I live in Washington state(the blue side that makes sure the red side has a pot to piss in!), and I am looking for a new truck. Gotta have big enough tires to go mudding, strong enought to pull a slant-3 trailer, and enough window space for my breed stickers and my political snarks("W is for weasel", Frodo failed; Bush has the ring", and "Iraq is arabic for Vietnam".

Great Blog-obnoxious me will be back. Ever read Steve Gilliard or Driftglass? Both are at blogspot, and both rock. We lefties need to stick togeather(but don't stick too close to me-I have this distinct feeling that I am one of the people on the "list"-I agitate!)

2:56 AM  
Blogger Carmi said...

Hi there. Utenzi sent me over here, so here I am! I like your passion for issues like this: you're not afraid to wear it on your sleeve.

I can't say I'd have the same courage to engage in hand-based debate on the highway, but that's only because I'm somewhat of a conservative when I drive.

I also have a great fear of strangers with guns. Must be my Canadian blood.

Anyway, great to see a new-to-me blog. I hope you pop by mine and say hi as well.

3:42 PM  
Blogger RenaRF said...

Carmi - I certainly shall. And your way of dealing with traffic is FAR safer than mine.

I'm married to a Canadian - if we don't get Bush out of office I may be moving there. ;-)

6:20 PM  
Blogger lefty said...

i saw one back during the election that said "WHO WOULD OSAMA VOTE FOR?" and then somehow indicated KERRY.

that one pissed me off.

1:39 AM  

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