So today I'm writing from a region rich in country-western music. What got me writing this was a new song by someone named Chely Wright, who's brother is a Marine. So far so good. The song, "The Bumper of My S.U.V.," is about how she slapped a Marines sticker on the bumper of her -- you guessed it -- and received a rude gesture from a fellow Nashville motorist.
Chely figures that this motorist was some kind of misguided peacenik who assumes all Marines are warmongers. Chely says that's unfair, and asks this woman to remember that Marines are fighting to protect us, which is true a lot of the time:
"So I hope that lady in her minivan turns on her radio and hears this from me, as she picks up her kids from their private school and drives home safely on our city streets or to the building where her church group meets," Chely sings. "Yeah, that's why I've got a sticker for the U.S. Marines on the bumper of my SUV."
But I think Chely may be missing the woman's point. Chely didn't put the Marines sticker on "The Bumper of My Mid-Sized Sedan." She put it on the back of an S.U.V. that sucks up twice as much oil as a regular car. And that puts Marines, and perhaps even regular folks like Chely, in danger.
I could make an argument here about how U.S. oil consumption props up totalitarian Middle Eastern governments, leading many misguided young men to seek justice through terrorism. But I can make an even more direct link between S.U.V. driving and terror.
Your oil dollars are going to Saudi Arabia, which gives them to madrasas
, where students are taught to reject modernity and hate Americans. Okay? When you buy oil, and especially when you buy enough oil for an S.U.V., you're paying to educate poor, desperate Muslim kids about the supposed evils of America. And those kids grow up to hate and sometimes kill Americans, especially Marines.
So Chely, the woman who gave you the finger might have agreed with you about supporting our troops. Maybe she just thinks you're a hypocrite, and that your disingenous bumper sticker is the most obscene gesture of all.