First off, I want to mention an event happening on Monday, March 28th. That is the Time Bank Mahoning Watershed hosting the film FUEL, a documentary that won the audience award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. The film is about America’s troubling relationship with oil and how alternative and sustainable energies can reduce dependence of fossil fuels. It will be shown at 7 p.m. at the Lemon Grove, 122 W. Federal St. Downtown, Youngstown. Free. Donations accepted for the purchase of future films. For more information on the film, see here.
I want to address one of my many pet peeves. That pet peeve would be hypocrisy. This time the hypocrisy would be in the form of bumper stickers. Such a bumper sticker may have led to road rage in Niles, Ohio. A man who I’ll call Mr. B had a bumper stickers that urged its readers to “Be American, Buy American” and “Be a Communist, Buy a Foreign Car.” The sticker led to Mr. B and Mr. L, who was driving a Nissan, to spit at one car or the other depending on who you believe. It also led to Mr. B pulling out a pistol. It ended in a court case where Mr. B was found guilty of disorderly conduct-a minor misdemeanor.
Where is the hypocrisy you are asking? Well, Mr. B was driving a Chevrolet Tracker which were sold in the U.S. from 1988-2004. Over these years Trackers have been made in Canada, Japan and Mexico. Meanwhile, if Mr. L’s Nissan was an Altima, Maxima, Xtera, Pathfinder, Frontier, Armada, Titan, Quest or the Leaf electric car odds are it was made in the U.S. Nissan has plants located in Smyrna, Tennessee and Canton, Mississippi. Mr. B assumed because his car was a Chevrolet it was made in the U.S. Should Mr. B have known better? Well, before he slapped those bumper stickers on his car he might have wanted to check the country of origin of his Tracker. Being that Mr. B is a skilled tradesman at the General Motors Co.’s Lordstown Complex, you’d assume an autoworker might know something about automobiles but then you’d be assuming. I will advise Mr. B that if he wanted to be assured that he was driving a car made in the U.S. he should buy the Chevrolet Cruze which is being made at the GM plant where he is employed. I have been reading excellent reviews of the Cruze in various auto magazines. Besides, Mr. B would know where to go for parts when he needs them (nod, wink). If I needed a car that size (and had a job that paid a livable wage) I’d buy one in a second.
I see in the news that GM auto workers like Mr. B are going to receive an average of a $4,300 bonus. I’m glad to hear GM has turned around and the bonuses spent in this valley will help our local economy. To add some irony I think Mr. B should be thanking Mr. L instead of allegedly spitting on his car and waving a gun at him. You see, Mr. L , you reading this and I as taxpayers saved Mr. B’s job at GM. Maybe, Mr. B could come by Mr. L’s and my home and drop some of that bonus money off to thank us.
Mr. B’s not the only uninformed bumper sticker guy on the road. I was exiting my Honda Element recently in a super market parking lot. An elderly man was getting out of his PT Cruiser parked next to me. He cleared his throat loudly and looked at his bumper sticker then at me. I glanced at his sticker to read, “Keep My American Flag Off of Your Foreign Car.” First off, I do not have an American flag on my car. I said to the man, “It’s not just your flag, it belongs to all of our citizens.” I continued, “My Honda was made in Ohio and the last time I looked Ohio was still part of America.” I added, “I also own a Chevy that was made in California and a Ford made in Tennessee. ” He replied Honda’s money goes back to Japan.” I answered, “Tell that to the construction workers who built the Honda plants and design studios in this country. Tell that to the Honda auto workers who take home a pay check from Honda.” I then decided to show how uninformed the man was. I said, “You do know that all PT cruisers were made in Mexico don’t you?” He replied, “No it’s not, it’s a Chrysler.” “Do some research” I stated. As we headed into the store I told him, “Make sure you don’t buy any foreign fruits or vegetables.”
From now on, I will be telling car owners with these bumper stickers that I have a service that can help them. My service is known as, “Household Hypocrisy Remover.” I will come to anyone’s house and remove all electronics, clothing, appliances etc. that are foreign-made. I will do this service free of charge. Contact me here if you are interested.
Right now, I am wrestling with not buying products made by corporations that contribute to politicians who don’t have my families interest in mind. I am starting to realize, if I boycotted all of them I will be naked, cold and walking. On the other hand if we keep buying products from corporations that want to destroy the working-class in the end we’ll be so poor we’ll all be naked, cold and walking anyways. Mr. L, Mr. B we are all working-class and on the same side. It’s time to work together and not be divided. All of our bumper stickers should read, “Corporate America and Wall Street, Don’t Care About Main Street.”
Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
Hypocrite: “The man who murders both his parents…pleaded for mercy on the grounds he was an orphan.” ~ Abraham Lincoln