Posted by: Tony Carson | 7 September, 2007

The Hummer: the drive of choice for the Ronald Reagan Republican

It’s hard to ignore your own visceral reaction to the Hummer. To me it’s a feeling of loathing.

I just assume the driver of a Hummer is a far right egotist who arrogantly spurns convention and is deliberately sticking it to the planet by driving through it with as much muscle he can find.

The Hummer appears to be a tank, deliberately designed to menace the road in a stylish Mad Max kind of way. The message is meant to be, “Look at me, I’m boss,” but comes across as “Look at me, I’m an asshole.”

I’m surprised there isn’t more overt hatred directed at Hummer owners. This article in the Globe and Mail entitled Off the road, big boys alludes to some incidents but it is astonishing that while Hummer owners are viewed universally as mindless pariahs, they aren’t made to pay for their greedy selfishness more often, like daily.

That they don’t is probably due to the fact that Hummers are just incrementally larger than the standard SUV which used to take the heat for vehicular over-kill. Now, in a relative sense, SUV owners are considered responsibly restrained. At 6 or 7 miles/litre, they aren’t.

The Hummer and SUVs are products of our times. Ever since Ronald Reagan made it cool to hate government and government regulations, Corporate America has been free to produce, not what is good for the consumers or the planet but what is best for their own bottom line: the mark-up on SUV’s is twice that of sedans (if that is still a word).

Hubris being what it is, consumers have to be protected from themselves, otherwise a few can ruin life for the many. Government has a legitimate role in regulating corporate conduct, particularly when there is such competition for a scare and finite resource like oil. The Hummer, such a surreal extravagance by all possible measures, is the very symbol of the need for government regulations

And it is the very symbol of the Ronald Reagan Republicans and that peculiar age of selfishness that has become such a cherished part of the American mythology.

Morning in America now should begin with a walk or a bike ride.

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