So, the last Hummer has rolled off the assembly line and into history. According to the Associated Press, General Motors announced last week that it’s discontinuing the Hummer after a purchasing deal with a Chinese company collapsed.
And Mother Earth heaves a sigh of relief.
Meanwhile, chest-thumping knuckle-draggers everywhere are frantically searching for a new way to broadcast to the world that they really aren’t hung like hamsters. At least there’s still burly, gnarly pit bulls to walk around on spikey chain collars so they can feel big and bad.
Overcompensation. That’s what it’s all about, whether it’s a monster dog or a monster vehicle. The Hummer appealed to those who want to appear as tough as a soldier, but don’t want to actually risk taking a bullet. Their vehicles are usually plastered with bumper stickers to reiterate that the person driving this hunk of faux-military metal is really, really a badass. And don’t you forget it!
After whatever variation of Second Amendment don’t-touch-my-guns paranoia you can cram onto an 8 by 2 inch strip of paper, the next most common bumper sticker is the compulsory Bush-Cheney campaign sticker, because when you’re an All Tank And No Troops kind of guy, what better idol than George W. Bush, the poster child for All Hat And No Cowboy.
And no pseudo-soldier’s vehicle is complete without an “I support the troops” ribbon, in de rigueur Stars and Stripes. Now, there’s some twisty logic -- crowing support for the troops while driving the biggest gas guzzler ever created, in the midst of a war that was orchestrated to provide access to Iraq’s rich oil fields, all in the name of good old American corporate greed.
You support the troops, do you, Mr. Hummer Man? Think the Bush-Cheney war machine is what America’s all about, eh? How ‘bout you enlist and fight side by side with our troops, rather than boasting your “support” by hurtling through the woods in a big toy tank that guzzles Middle Eastern gas and spews toxins into the air?
Uhhh… enlist? Go to Iraq? Stare down religion-crazed suicidal psychopaths with shoulder rockets, and slice their throats before they slice mine? Errr, emmmm, ahum…. Hey, let’s gas up the Hummer and go four-wheelin’ and run down small animals and holler “USA! USA! USA!” at pansy-pants Liberals in Subarus! Yeah! We’re big, we’re bad, uh huh!
Pathetic. And ironic. Because inside every bullying macho idiot is a scared, trembling little boy, and the scariest thing of all is facing that fact. So they behave exactly the opposite of how they feel to hide their true selves from the world. They overcompensate.
That explains the boys. But what about the girls? There are plenty of ladies driving Hummers, but they fall into two categories. There’s the kind of gals who don’t mind hopping onto a Harley or starting a bar fight, or using power tools or hunting moose in the Alaskan snow, but they’re really just macho idiots too, but with ovaries. Regardless of internal or external plumbing, bullies are nothing but tough cookies on the outside and pure squish inside.
As for the other female Hummer drivers, unlike their Mr. and Ms. Macho counterparts, not only do they acknowledge their fear, they’re consumed by it. They’re the ones who had their wits scared out of them on a daily basis by Bush & Co for eight long, dark years. Fear and terror were/are Dick Cheney’s cottage industry, and it fueled the Bush Administration. Dubya himself? About as responsible for the actual workings of the Whitehouse as Mickey Mouse is for Disneyland. Cheney, on the other hand, was Walt Disney himself.
Under Cheney’s relatively unseen command, Americans were force-fed terror like geese being fattened up for pate. From 9/11 to anthrax to bird flu to an endless drumbeat of terrorism terrorism terrorism, we were saturated with perpetual anxiety and dread. And for good reason. A frightened populace is an obedient populace. You can get away with all sorts of hijinks, like preemptive war and illegal wiretapping and waterboarding and tanking the entire economy, if you just make sure everyone’s very, very afraid. Which can make you very, very rich if your company makes its money scavenging war-torn countries or your family has major oil industry investments.
During the Fear and Loathing in America Era, 2000-2008, there were new things to be terrified of on a daily basis, but they weren’t things from which average little Americans could protect themselves. What do you do when the terror threat level is elevated to orange because a terrorist attack might occur somewhere at sometime? How do you respond to this nebulous fear? Some folks stocked up on Duct Tape. Others went out and purchased big toy tanks so they could feel like tough, brave soldiers.
Skittish soccer moms and bullying macho idiots are two sides of the same fear coin. They’re both terrified, whether they’re willing to admit it or not, and driving a Hummer is a tangible thing they can do to feel safer. Which is all quite sad, in the end, because a Hummer won’t protect you from anthrax or bird flu or terrorism terrorism terrorism. It’s merely an illusion.
And now, the Hummer, like the era of fear it symbolized, is relegated to the history books. I won’t miss the vehicle any more than I miss what – and who-- it stands for.