Monday, June 01, 2009

June 1, 2009: Cars

Here's a political litmus test: What are you most upset about today, Dr. Tiller or GM? Here's an...intellectual? ideological? oh, let's just call it another litmus test: What are you blogging about today?

My automotive history:

Toyota Starlet
Honda Civic
Ford Escort wagon
(Honda M5)
(Mazda 3)
Subaru Outback wagon

S's cars are in parentheses, everything was bought used except the Escort, and this list pretty much tells you everything you need to know about us, demographically speaking.

I never in my life considered buying a GM car. (I had to look up GM even to know what they are. And I had to look up Jeep too, which turns out to be Chrysler.)

I did love my Ford, once I got over my status issues and decided it was a cool indie car. I would have bought another, when repairing the first was no longer justifiable, but by then they had stopped making Escorts, and though I thought the Focus was pretty cute, my mechanic was strongly against it.

I totally get the horror of GM's bankruptcy for workers. Totally. But it's hard for me to mourn the brand. I'm of the "American automakers should have heard the music and read the writing on the wall a long time ago" school. Capitalist though I'm not, I think a company has to make viable product to survive. As far as I can tell, they didn't, and now their workers are paying the price.

Really, though, it all seems very far away, which tells you even more about me, demographically speaking.

I'm upset about Dr. Tiller too, though I must admit that too seems very far away. But mostly, I have lost any interest or faith in the viability of blogging as political action, and I've lost most of my interest in the sound of my own voice, especially when it simply parrots my demographic.


Elizabeth said...

Our cars:

(Ford Escort)
Ford Escort
Ford Freestar
Volvo V70

First Escort was owned by my then-fiance, the next two we bought ourselves, the Volvo was passed on to us by my mother-in-law.

And yes, my father-in-law used to work for Ford. My guess is the next car we buy will be a Prius, and he won't even give us grief for it.

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate said...

You know, it's weird. I've been freaking out about the possibility of GM going under for awhile now....worrying about what this means for my family and my community in Michigan. But then Dr. Tiller was killed and suddenly I could care less about GM.

jen said...

Mazda B2000 mini-truck
Ford Contour
(Mazda 323)
Chevy Impala
Toyota Sienna

I also find myself wondering how auto workers did not see the writing on the wall long ago. And I don't think it helps to have the obligatory MSM "Here's Joe, he's worked at this plant for 35 years, what's he going to do?" piece appearing twice a month.

Wow, I sound pretty heartless. But I have seen people in other industries sent thru the blender so badly -- think of the farming community, for example -- and I think it's best to just rip off the band-aid, as it were, and encourage people to permanently transition. What's the old saying? A disease will run its course but a coping mechanism can last forever. Not to imply that the auto industry is a disease, but if you're facing a sea change in the world it's best to make the tough decision and make some change -- not to hobble along and make it even worse.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Here via Half-changed World. I just saw this today & thought it might interest you:

That's Bend, Oregon. In rural counties like this one, most people drive 4wd vehicles; the Chevy Suburban is popular with parents (it has a 3rd row of seats).

GM's closure would have pretty far-reaching consequences. I'm not convinced that the fact that its failure = pain means that it shouldn't fail; but I do think we should understand that Michigan isn't the only place that will be affected.

landismom said...

I'm pretty torn about this question (although I hadn't really considered it as an either-or question until I came here). As a feminist who works in the labor movement, I'm saddened by both things.