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I, Hog: A Short Rant
By Cathy Peterson

Rick Schmidt, founder of IHOG, the International Hummer Owners Group, said: "In my humble opinion, the H2 is an American icon. Not the military version by any means, but it's a symbol of what we all hold so dearly above all else, the fact we have the freedom of choice, the freedom of happiness, the freedom of adventure and discovery, and the ultimate freedom of expression.

"Those who deface a Hummer in words or deed," he added, "deface the American flag and what it stands for." -- Danny Hakim, "In Their Hummers, Right Beside Uncle Sam," New York Times, 4/5/03 (Thanks to discountsatori)

When the Pilgrims arrived in what was to become the United States of America in 1620, they were fleeing a communist society where they had no choice in transportation. After years of being forced to drive boxy, practical four-door sedans, the Pilgrims had decided enough was enough and they left for America. Or maybe the story goes that the Pilgrims left England because the mean ol' British imperialists in their Mini Coopers made fun of their sport utility vehicles. "But we've got kids to take to soccer," the Pilgrims exclaimed as they boarded the Mayflower, "you'll never understand. We'll just start our own country."

Wait, maybe there was that whole religious persecution and, later, taxation without representation thing. Maybe those are the roots of America and not the right to purchase whatever we want. It seems as if some Americans forget their history while talking on their cell phones and juggling Starbucks double-lattes and the steering wheel of their H2s.

There's nothing like a war to make Joe Sixpack the absolute authority on what it means to be an American patriot. Nationalism becomes a pep rally, with scorn for those who don't see the connection between weaving toilet paper through their legs and showing support for the home team. "Love for America" transforms into a chant at a football game, best expressed by drunk shirtless men covered in body paint. Those Americans who choose not to paint an American flag on their garage door, get a tattoo of the President on their arm, or drive a $50,000 gas-guzzling vehicle get branded un-American by those that do. Then, of course, there's the belief that if you disagree with war, you hate soldiers, veterans, puppies, kittens, and God.

If we believe Rick Schmidt (which, of course, I don't), the American flag stands for the right to consume. I do think that is quickly what America represents, particularly to the oil-rich nations that we are currently scouring for terrorists. That's also one reason why terrorists want to kill us. Thanks, Rick Schmidt! Your conspicuous consumption does America proud! I hear America singing, and it's Veruca Salt singing "I Want It Now" in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.