Monday, May 01, 2006

Driving Miss Disney

Y'all haven't heard from me lately because we packed up the fambly and drove to the Happiest Place on Earth. Well, I'd actually say that the happiest place on Earth is Fenway after a big thumping of the Yankees, but anyhow, we drove to one of the happiest places on earth- Orlando, Florida.

I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to talk more about the trip once I've recovered from all that happiness, (right before the credit card bills roll in, no doubt). Actually, I'm waiting until Mrs Idiot gives me access to the pictures from the trip to write about it. She always screens the pictures carefully before giving them to me to be sure that I haven't snuck in any pictures of me mooning things.

In the meantime, let me throw out a couple of observations I made during the 1,400 miles of driving southward, and then some more that I made during the subsequent 1,400 miles driving northward. (On Saturday I drove what I feel is an astounding 930 miles between the reasonably comfortable hours of 8 am and 10 pm).

Anyhoo, the one thing that struck me is that New Hampshire absolutely leads the world in creative vanity license plates. You can't swing a cat in this state without hitting someone with a funny license plate, whereas there's a dearth of them once you leave the cozy Granite State's borders.
(And no, this has nothing to do with the "Live Free or Die" motto.)

In fact, in all those thousands of miles, there really weren't any memorable vanity plates at all. Well, actually, there were a couple of memorable ones, but for the wrong reasons.

For example, in Virginia we saw a Dodge Durango RT with the license plate "IM CRIST" which stands out in my memory. Now, I too own a Dodge Durango RT and it's a fine vehicle and I'm proud to own the official vehicle of the messiah, but I was a little disappointed as I figured that Jesus would either drive somethingt totally flashy and cool, or else do the other route and drive some piece of crap old VW bus or something. I totally understand about the RT, the 5.9 litre fuel injected engine does sing a beautiful song.

Another memorable plate said GOP4ME.
I said "this must be a urologist" (GO PEE For ME).
Mrs. Idiot said "Oh, I thought it's a Republican" (G.O.P. for ME).
Given that the car was covered with stickers for Republican candidates, I think Mrs. Idiot had that one pegged. (And I'm not kidding about this: one of the candidate's names was "Woodcock"). Perhaps they were both a Republican and a urologist?

Finally, there was a license plate that absolutely appalled me.
The state of Florida (and in doing subsequent research I've learned they're not alone) has issued license plates that say "Choose Life"

Now, leaving totally aside the sticky wicket of being "pro-life" or "pro-choice" for a moment, does it strike anyone else as odd that a state is using an official instrument to put forth a political opinion? Again, I won't even get near the fact that this same opinion tends to run along religious lines.

I'm all in favor of license plate drives that help raise money for schools or manatees or wilderness conservation, but this seems a little too politicized to be right and proper for a state to do. In a nutshell, the court has said "it's a woman's choice, everyone else shut up until we change our mind," and here we have a state (several states, actually) putting the issue on their license plates? Are these states then openly advocating that a Supreme Court ruling be overturned? Can they do that? Should they do that?

Are these states offering Pro-Choice license plates? How is this different than the requirement that radio and television offer equal access to both political parties?

Finally, will there be other issues that states can put on their plates? What if Florida starts chafing about the ban on assault rifles? Will we soon see Gun Nut Plates? How about states that want to get rid of the No Child Left Behind Act? How about all the states looking to deal with the immigrant issue, I can see what they might want for that plate now.
I'm not a very political person and I don't get fired up about this stuff often, but this one disturbs me because I think that putting a political cause on an official instrument like a license plate is wrong. The states are supposed to protect our rights, not steer our policy.

So, GOP4ME and all the rest of you drivers out there, call your congressman and tell 'em you think your state DMV should either get out of the political arena or open up the license plate arena to ALL the political causes out there.... how about this one?

1 comment:

Marti said...

I like your plates! LOL

The number on them should be something like 000 420. My teens told me that 4/20 (April 20th) is National Marijuana Day. Duh on out-of-the-loop old me LOL

Happy May Day - looking forward to the pictures!