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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bags of Wind, Money, & Punching Varieties

As I've mentioned in my last post, one of the things I like about blogger is the "Stats" tab which allows me to track the traffic that comes to this site. The other tracking service I use is Google Analytics and it has become my new toy (read: O-B-S-E-S-S-I-O-N!). I actually enjoy playing around on the service and reading articles on best practices and hacks. The spousal unit (read: enabler) laughs at me and calls me a dork and then forwards me another how-to article. Then laughs at me some more.

Anyways. The other day, I'm playing around on Google Analytics, comparing reports with those from Blogger's Stats, when I come upon the traffic source tab in Stats. Under the "Search Keyword" report I see that, within the last seven day, someone found Wibbly-wobbly using the search term "gun rack." Naturally, I assumed that this search led to my February 23 post "Troll The Dial to Eleven 2012." But I was curious. How high in the search rankings was my post? So, I typed "gun rack" into Google Search.

Although I gave up after slogging through eight pages of results, my experience was not fruitless. On the first page, I found a Huffington Post article which featured a YouTube video created by a Mr. John Dole of Atlanta. In this video, Dole shows off his brand new Chevy Volt complete with a newly installed gun rack.

Using PVC pipes and some hardware available at your favorite home improvement store, Dole—a registered Republican according to the Huffington Post—crafted this masterpiece as a pointed response to Newt Gingrich's comment about not being able to put a gun rack into a Volt, a comment that this proud Volt owner did not appreciate.

Finding this video was both an exciting and a disappointing thing for me. I'm not disappointed because someone beat me to the punch and installed a gun rack into a Chevy Volt before I could do the same. I do not have access to a Volt or a gun. I'm disappointed because Dole posted his video days before my February 23rd post and I did not learn of it until almost a month later. I know most of the things I post on this blog will not be as timely and news-breaking as, say, MSN or your local newspaper—honestly, it's not suppose to be. These are just my thoughts on what's going on around me. But when I did my research for my post, neither this video nor the various articles [1][2][3] about it—which were all published before my post, by the way—ever came up in my search results. I think my post would have been different (read: better) had I found them first. I console my in the thought that maybe the topic was not trending well enough for me to find them sooner. Then again, I limited my search to images, so it's still probably my fault.

But, enough of that.

In the end, this video was still pretty exciting for me. It validated my view that some people/groups in U.S. politics today really just don't get it. We can no longer apply 20th century solutions to 21st (and ultimately, 22nd) century challenges and politicians need to realize that although sound bites may help win elections, they will not solve our problems.

Granted on one level, Mr. Dole's innovation was a sardonic response to the near-sightedness of a political cartoon character trying to win votes. But I think it also shows the kind of thinking that built America and is what our country needs at this point in our history. The best part is that Dole is not alone. PolitiFact Georgia went further and installed various store bought gun racks into a Volt [4]. Even GM waded into the fray [5]. On their blog, VP of Global Communications Selim Bingol writes that putting a gun rack on a Volt is as easily accomplished as installing training wheels on a Harley. But he begs the question of his reader: "Why would you?" He astutely points out that in both cases: it "looks weird,...doesn't work very well, and...there are better places for gun racks and training wheels."

But I think Mr. Bingol misses the point.

Indeed, a truck or SUV are better choices over a sedan for a gun rack since most folk who have use of a gun rack probably have concurrent use of the features offered by a Silverado or Tahoe. (Unless, of course, you are Mr. Dole who lives in a metropolitan area prefers shooting ranges over shooting deer or, perhaps, a zombie apocalypse survivor. In both cases the smaller size and fuel range of the Volt are probably more advantageous.)

Yes, just because it can be done, doesn't mean we should. As the gentleman in this YouTube video demonstrate, gun racks are more of a convenience than a necessity. So why waste the time and energy?

The point of the matter is that by sticking their heads in the sand and by insisting that we continue to stick straws into the earth to suck every droplet of oil that we can, our politicians are wasting time and energy. We can't (solely) drill ourselves to energy independence. "Drill, baby, drill!" will only drill us a very deep hole in which other countries will one day bury us. We need an intelligent energy strategy that phases out antiquated technology like fossil fuels as we phase in newer, renewable sources of energy. We must stop protecting outdated thinking and Big Oil interests by using the technologies of the future as "political punching bags" as GM CEO Dan Akerson keenly put it.