Put this down to “suspicions confirmed.”

I took Barb’s car to the dealer this week for regular service. While there, as men are wont to do, I wandered the new car lot to marvel at what technology and government bailout dollars hath wrought. Marvelous what a few billion tax dollars can build.

Then something happened that snapped me back to reality. But first, a little background.

Having lived in several Southwest Oregon communities, I’ve gotten used to the beyond-conservative voices in our wilderness. Some have a tenuous grasp on reality in the 21st century; some are confused, looking to make sense out of a world that is changing too quickly for them; others are just your typical crazies.

We’ve had our share of the phony “tea parties” at local seats of government. Got to keep those Washington DC Republican consultants employed in the off-season. You’d never know these events were “sponsored” under the table unless noticing the handwritten signs at your local version matched the words of the handwritten signs on TV from the other states.

But I digress. Back to my “un-epiphany.”

As I roamed among the “bargains” being offered under the “cash for clunkers” program, I came across a couple of familiar faces.

Now, where had I seen them before? Oh, they looked so familiar.

Then “ah ha!” The “tea party!” A few weeks ago, they’d been carrying signs decrying taxes and wanting government out of their lives. Matter of fact, these two had written dozens of letters to the local newspapers for years, blasting government and all practitioners thereof.

Yet, here they were, hubcap deep in the latest government-sponsored tax giveaway of the season. They were here to grab their $4,500 check with both hands and drive off in a new pickup.

Deep in my soul, I wanted to cry out “WHERE IN HELL DO YOU THINK THAT $4,500 IS COMING FROM?”

But, no. Common sense prevailed. I turned silently away. If by now they hadn’t figured out their improved lives were securely intertwined with Corps of Engineers flood projects, rural electrification, new highways, satellite communications, safer food, improved health care, veteran’s benefits, tax rebate checks and a lot of other stuff … well … what chance had I to explain “cash for clunkers.”

Instead, I drove away thinking that not all clunkers have four wheels.

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