I was driving down the Suncoast Parkway this week — one of the few remaining scenic roads in the Tampa Bay area — when suddenly a wheeled monstrosity appeared on the road before me.
It seemed to take up both lanes of the highway. If you were to look at the color swatch the owner chose from to paint his car, the description would be something like “Obnoxious Orange.””As I passed on the left, I could see the driver sitting high enough to be guiding in planes landing at TIA.
I know little to nothing about cars, but I knew what I had just witnessed. It was the new model from Hummer, the H2, a sleek and powerful looking new SUV from the wonderful folks at GM. As I glanced back at the big orange tank in my rear view mirror, I suddenly felt a little ill.
Because I realized that it’s the H2,and it’s gigantic brethren from other automobile makers, that we are going to go to war with Iraq.
Please don’t be fooled into thinking we are going to war with the man who George Bush Sr. once called the worst tyrant since Hitler, out of a sense of patriotic duty. If you must believe that, at least accept that, if anything, the whole patriotic angle is nice for the history books.
No doubt, children 50 years from now will read how we invaded Iraq to protect democracy or to rid the world of terrorism, or something like that.
The truth? Saddam Hussein is no Hitler. He’s nothing more than another Baby Doc Duvelier or Manuel Noriega. The only difference is that neither Duvlier nor Noriega had anything to hold over our heads. Saddam has that resource of resources: Texas tea. Black Gold. Oil.
Which brings me back to the H2. This behemoth consumes, on average, a paltry 12 miles per gallon. The thing drinks gas like fraternity houses consume beer. It would be like drinking a gallon of milk every half-hour.
Most monstrous SUVs are no better. The Cadillac Escalade gets about 14 miles per gallon. The Ford Excursion, the gaudiest of the new giant SUVs, goes through a gallon in a scant ten miles. By comparison, the 2002 Honda Accord gets 32 miles per gallon.
Some would say that these SUVs are what America is all about. The american dream is to be able to afford something like a Ford Excursion. Or is it? I would argue that these things are the antithesis of what it is to be American.
They consume gas at immense quantities, making America even more dependent on resources we must fight wars to secure.
At a time when other car companies are producing fuel efficient hybrid vehicles, to build such guzzlers is not only antiquated, but irresponsible. The Honda Civic Hybrid gets 50 miles to the gallon. The new Honda Insight gets an incredible 68 miles per gallon.
These SUV’s seem to scream out, “Screw you, Earth, America is coming through on 30-inch wheels!”
In light of these facts, President Bush should revise his “Axis of Evil” to include not North Korea, Iraq and Iran, but rather the makers of the H2, the Escalade and the Excursion, along with the makers of all the other colossal gas bandits out there.
Joe Roma is a junior majoring in political science.