Progressives realize we donít need our SUVs
One of the critical values in the progressive political ethic is the ability to distinguish wants and needs. Progressives know the difference between what we really have to have and what we just like to have. That’s what enables progressives to realize that almost nobody actually needs a sport utility vehicle.
In response to this progressive claim, the voice of SUV owners rises in uniform protest: You liberals just don’t get it! I really do need my SUV!
Is this true? Are the right wingers right?
Let’s think back a few years now, to the 1980s. Back in the 1980s, very few people claimed that they needed sport utility vehicles. They didn’t know what a sport utility vehicle even was, and if you had told people you had an SUV, they might have thought you were talking about the latest music video channel on cable TV. Back then, the only people who had SUVs were people who made nature documentaries in remote places without good roads, like the plains of Africa.
In spite of this lack of SUVs, we got along. We didn’t need SUVs back then.
Thousands of years ago, before they knew about reading and writing, and before they even had metal tools, the people of Western Europe erected tens of thousands of megalithic structures using stones that each weighed many tons. They didn’t need SUVs to do it.
Ah, but you need your SUV to carry things, right? Well, do you? What do you carry home in your SUV that you couldn’t put into a car? You new big screen plasma digital HD television set? Is that a need?
I have a theory about TV sets. Televisions are like goldfish. Goldfish grow to fit the size of the body of water they live in. Keep a goldfish in a 5 gallon aquarium, and it will remain small. Put that same goldfish in a backyard pond, and it may grow ten times as large.
Television sets, in the same way seem to expand to the size of the vehicles we have available to carry them home in. I remember when people thought of a 19-inch television set as large. Now, this size is regarded as small. We’ve developed 40-inch television sets as the new standard of big just a few years after we developed the SUV to carry it home in.
Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Right wingers say that people need SUVs to carry home big things like large plasma screen television sets, but progressives have a long enough memory to realize that big screen TVs, and the vehicles that can carry them into America’s driveways, are wants, not needs. We need a President of the United States who has this kind of historical memory as a check to the latest faddish ideas about reality. That’s one more reason why, in 2008, America needs to elect a progressive president.
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