"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Thursday, January 11, 2024

'I Want My Ford F-350!' - Climate Hectoring And The Loud Hoot Of A Happy Denier

Emma Partly and her husband Bob lived in a leafy, well-to-do professional neighborhood of Washington, DC.  As such it was universally and profoundly liberal, and its residents all subscribed to the progressive canon – the rightness of the gender spectrum and transgenderism; the universality of systemic racism, white elitism and the continued oppression of the Black man; the corrosive nature of free market capitalism; and most importantly, the perniciousness of global warming and the ignorance of its deniers.

Global warming, or climate change as Emma corrected others, was an existential threat.  Unless stopped it would turn the world into a charred, barren wasteland, the Apocalypse made real.  Consequently she joined every environmental activist group in the city, contributed to those of national influence, and supported international conferences, seminars, and world forums.

Image result for images climate armageddon charred wasteland

She was dismayed, nonplussed, and completely stunned by the indifference of so many of her colleagues, friends, and neighbors.  Couldn’t they see what was happening?  Weren’t they concerned about the generations of their grandchildren and their grandchildren’s children?  How could they be so selfish and ignorant to keep on burning fossil fuels to overheat their houses, power automotive behemoths, and charge unneeded devices and appliances?

Yet, despite a decade of the persistent liberal hammering by her and thousands like her, carbon emissions had almost doubled and showed no signs of slowing.  The demand for energy had  never been higher, the conversion to alternative solar and wind power desultory at best, and European energy-producing countries like Norway let alone those of the Middle East, showed no appetite for deferring or limiting production and reducing their fabulous profits.

Image result for images saudi leaders in full dress

‘We must do more’, Emma said, and increased her advocacy efforts.  Although her neighbors had paid lip service to climate mitigation – hybrid cars were seen in half the driveways of Laurel Park – their furnaces were stoked up in winter, air conditioners run at full blast during the summer; and now that the pandemic was fading, they took to their larger and more comfortable SUVs on frequent trips to the grandchildren, to their second homes on the Outer Banks, and to winter ski vacations in Vermont.

So Emma lectured at women’s clubs, PTA meetings, DAR assemblies, and church groups.  She wrote letters to the editor of the Post, was well-known on social media for her impassioned pleas for action, and was tireless in her efforts to instruct and direct her children who, she hoped, would be the next generation’s avant garde of the environmental movement.

Emma’s son, Randy, who had moved back home after college to take advantage of his parents’ spacious home where he could have his own quarters and work remotely, was a chip off the old block.  He drove a used Prius, was careful to combine trips to save gas, and took public transportation for the few appointments downtown.  

At the small liberal arts college in the Midwest where he studied, he had been active in the most aggressive campus groups, was a street warrior who travelled with his classmates to Wall Street, K Street, and the Lakefront to protest the corporate greed, indifferent politicians, and white privilege that fueled climate change.

Like most young people, his enthusiasm began to wane once he returned home.  This natural slide was accelerated by his mother who had become so engaged in ‘The Movement’ that she had lost her emotional balance, the even keel that had always described her.  She had become a madwoman, frenzied with anger at climate derelicts who did not heed her apocalyptical warnings.

She patrolled the streets of her neighborhood, looking for houses too brightly lit, too incandescent, and too careless.  She became as evangelical as a Jehovah’s Witness, ringing doorbells and leaving leaflets and brochures on offending doorsteps.  She lost all sense of propriety and good taste, and was avoided at Whole Foods. 

Needless to say, she was an embarrassment to her son.  He grew to resent her obsession, her turning and twisting every innocent comment into a cause celebre. Incidental reference to a friend, a vacation, a childhood memory were all fuel for a lecture on responsibility, parsimony, good faith, and doing the right thing.  

Not surprisingly he turned away from his mother’s causes – good progressive that she was, she endorsed every social reform with the same rabid intensity as climate change.  Their front lawn was a forest of Black Lives Matter, Hate Has No Home Here, Rainbow Coalition, and Occupy Wall Street signs; loud, angry gatherings were held in her back yard, and change-the-world bumper stickered cars jammed the street in front of her house.

One day, there it was, a full-service, gleaming white, 347 cubic inch, six foot high, twenty foot long beautiful monster of a truck, parked by the curb in front of the Partly home.  Randy’s revenge, a defiant No Mas to the tedious, insistent hectoring of his mother and her Movement.  It was a statement, and what a statement it was!

Image result for biggest ford pickup f 350 diesel

The Ford F-series trucks are the most popular vehicles in the United States and more of them are sold than any other vehicle.  While the coastal elites fret about climate Armageddon, the rest of the country goes big, audacious, and polluting.  No pandemic, rising gas prices, liberal censure, or opprobrium can slow sales.  It is America’s car.

Right behind it were the big SUVs, the Suburbans, Grand Cherokees, and Cadillac Escalades; and then the smaller, but still full-size Subarus, Toyotas, and Hondas. Gone were the small, economy cars of an earlier age.  America had had enough of these high mileage dogs.

To Emma, everything was wrong with this abomination parked in front of her house.  It sucked gas; belched carbon, soot, and fine particulate matter into the environment, weakening the ozone layer, heating the planet, and hastening planetary destruction.

It enriched the banks, the avant-garde of Wall Street predatory capitalism.  It supported the polluting industries that manufactured car parts. It took up unnecessary space.  It served no earthly purpose in the confines of a traditional, nicely landscaped, modest, tasteful neighborhood.  It was ugly. And it was her son’s!!

‘Return it, I beg you’, she pleaded.  ‘Do anything you want, but not this.  Please…..please. Do it for me’ she cried. But after years of the dour, humorless, posturing at college; unattractive women and their dorky male consorts; and hour after hour of seriousness and God-awful purpose, Randy had had enough.  His bright college years, supposed to be special, inspiring, and unforgettable, had been dull, grey, and spiritless.  He would never again revisit that miasma of intent. 

It was time to have fun; and fun he had, roaring off in his F-350, headed to Rockville, Gaithersburg, and Hagerstown, picking up girls who loved his ride, who smoked, who had never even heard of a Prius, and voted for Donald Trump.

‘What did we do wrong?’, Mrs. Partly asked her husband, to which he turned off his hearing aid and looked out the picture window to the finches at the bird feeder.  “Oh, how I tried”, she said. “I tried so hard”; but of course she missed the essential physics of true belief – the more you hammer and hector, the more you will offend, turn off, and lose potential supporters.  Nobody listens to a repetitive bore.

One day Randy roared off to parts unknown and did not return.  It was inevitable, and more power to him. Most of America is sick and tired of hearing liberal cant and righteous assumptions and intends to vote the punishers out of office come the Presidential election in a few months, but Randy couldn’t wait.  His big, beautiful, hunk of a ride was waiting, testosterone was flowing, and he was off!

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