I'm not a rebel.
I'm listening to talk radio yesterday and I hear something that drives me nuts every time. I'm sure you've all heard the argument - having our cars is what makes us American. It's a popular right-wing notion, so much so that even in the middle of a war who's most obvious benefit will be protecting our access to middle-eastern oil, people still say it without irony. And, those of us that choose not to utilize cars, be it for their gas-guzzling, or greenhouse-gas-belching, because they're too expensive or just because riding in cars is boring and anti-social; we're routinely classified as unAmerican, rebellious, or simply faggots. And while I'm sure this note will do no more than ring true to a few sympathetic ears and fall on the deaf ears of the masses, it must be said: I'm not a faggot. I'm not particularly rebellious. And I love apple pie. Heck, that's one of the reasons I ride a bike. At the end of the day when I'm pulling my bike into my garage and wiping the sweat from my brow, I can rest comfortably knowing that my trip to-and-from work didn't contribute to global warming. And the soldiers that are dying in Iraq are not doing so to protect MY ability to drive a hummer without having to shell out $7.00 a gallon for gas. Sure I use electricity that comes from oil - but as soon as I have a feasible alternative I'm there. Yeah, this is the country that cars built. It's also fattest country on the planet. Coincidence? North America also claims the highest cancer rates in the world. Could it be??? Here's the kicker: I don't care if you drive your car. Frankly I'm not expecting much to change in my lifetime. But what I would like to be able to do is ride my bike without you telling me I'm an unAmerican, faggot, rebel. Oh yeah, and get off your phone, put down the make-up and pay attention! I'm a person. I have a family. I don't want to die just so that you can read the newspaper while you drive.