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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hummers are for Republicans

No, I’m not talking about those hummers. Although I’m sure I could make a creative case for that as well. I’m talking about the Hummer vehicle. The crazy commercial version of the military Hum-V.

First, I'm a total a fan of the real Hum-V. I wouldn’t want to drive one around town in one, but they are kind of amazing. Super-wide wheel base and nearly indestructible. From what I hear, a great vehicle for desert travel. They also speak to the evolution of the Jeep which was also originally designed for military use. You’ve seen MASH, right? PS- the Jeep has been around much longer than the Hummer.

The Jeep, (the CJ, TJ, Wrangler variety) has stayed true to it’s roots, even in it’s commercially mass produced form. In fact the Jeeps we see today aren’t a whole lot different from the original Willy’s versions. At one point in my family, we had 4 generations of Jeeps. Good times! In fact, I helped my grandpa (basically by doing whatever he told me and handing him tools because I didn’t know how to do anything else...) rebuild his 1952 Willy’s Jeep. When finished, it was painted bright red, had reupholstered blue seats-- sewn and stuffed by my grandma and I-- and a brand new white canvas top. You can’t get any more patriotic than that.

(Get this bumper sticker at: http://www.cafepress.com/naughtyviking.541059298)

I better get back to my point. The commercial Hummer, H2 and H3 are, frankly, posers. They are so far from the original Hum-V they shouldn’t really qualify as Hummers anymore. In my experience they're driven by people who’s idea of off-road is going through a mud puddle in front of the GAP (the store at the mall, not the place in Montana). Of course these are the same people who live in subdivisions like Pheasant Hill. Generally, subdivisions named Pheasant Hill or Deer Point don’t actually have pheasants or deer anymore because the McMansions have crowded them all out, but again, that’s another blog topic.

I think the most ridiculous Hummer I’ve ever seen is the white stretch limo version complete with wet bar and disco ball. You know, the kind that makes a frequent appearance on shows like “Jersey Shore”. I don’t think any person true to the off-road philosophy would ever use the word bling as a regular part of their vocabulary. And they definitely wouldn’t call themselves The Situation.

(Get your bumper sticker at: http://www.cafepress.com/naughtyviking.541059299)

Now, I’m not just picking on Republicans here. I think the number of Democrats with hybrid cars is kind of hilarious as well. I do think hybrids are a great idea, but I have some concerns about their longevity, the manufacturing waste products and toxic battery disposal. I should point out that I’m not an expert in either one of these topics, but I like to ask the questions. And I think we have bigger environmental issues than whether or not we all drive hybrids. Maybe the simplest solution is to just drive less.

I actually read an article, right after I bought my Jeep, that suggested that the Jeep Wrangler was the greenest vehicle on the planet. I thought, truly, they must be joking. I mean most Jeeps get terrible gas mileage and isn’t that what green is all about? Now, mine is a bit better because it sports a little 4-cylinder engine so I actually average what most small sedans do. But the article made some great points. Because the Jeep Wrangler hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years, more body parts are exchangeable and therefore re-used and recycled more. It also means that there is minimal waste in the manufacturing process. There is also much less body real estate in a Jeep because in the soft top version, there just isn’t much body. Trust me, I know this because I can’t find any place to put a new bumper sticker. Also, Jeep drivers are very loyal so they maintain and keep their vehicles longer on average than other car drivers. Soft tops eventually become biodegradable as well because they're primarily treated canvas. Soft tops also sport only one glass window, the windshield, which is also very small flat and simple and contains no enhancements like visor shading or electronic defrost paraphernalia. And the engine itself hasn’t changed much as well, so again, more parts are exchangeable and manufacturing waste is minimal.The article linked above gives a better point by point or should I say dust to dust analysis.

Anyway, this point of view made my liberal streak feel much better about buying it. I have to confess, my political views lie somewhere between Libertarianism & Socialism. This really means I want the freedom to paint my house hot pink and maybe light it on fire if I feel like it and that I also support programs like Social Security. I think this is why I love Montana and will probably love Scotland if I ever get there. The people are fierce about their independence, but care enough about each other to help when it’s needed.

Again, I’m slightly off topic... But I guess my conclusion is that in my mind, Republicans and Hummers go together like “shock and awe”.

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