Monday, March 8, 2010

The Will to Resist


Sometimes I wonder what the point of all this struggle against cars is. Is it really possible to stand up to them, in the belly of the belly of the beast (Los Angeles, within America)? Will I eventually cave under the pressure like Lisa Simpson during her vegetarian spell and say "I just can't take it anymore!" before biting in to what she thinks is a hot dog?

People who think like me have been called all kinds of things: "crazy, unrealistic, zealot, loser", did I mention "crazy"? Just look at that Mustang GT, sending particles of tire dust into the air in a peacock-like display that just seems to scream "America"!

For me, this is mainly about a desperate struggle to resist the rape and destruction of this planet. I am an environmentalist in a country that puts speed way above the environment. I may very well be on the wrong side of history. But I've decided to dedicate my career to making it a little bit harder for the freeway builders and the car lovers and the sprawl lovers out there. Maybe just out of spite. It's hard to explain.

I took the bus today, like I do every day I go to school. It's slower, colder, and harder than driving. But deep down I take pride in the fact that maybe that means I'm tougher than the people who drive. Maybe I derive meaning from the fact that I have found a cause that is worthy of effort and sacrifice. The bus may take my time. But turning the key of my car and filling up my gas tank crush my soul. Every time I do one of those things I feel like I have given up on myself and my values.

I am fighting for a city that makes it convenient to do the right thing. I am fighting so that future generations will not have to struggle so for sustainable transportation. Victory is not guaranteed and my kind are outnumbered and outgunned. That's why we work ten times harder.

What is time compared to meaning?

- Yours in struggle


  1. I hear your pain. Over here it's a bit better but in our town, coddled wealth from Mercedes and Porsche, we have the same response of blank looks and people changing the subject.
    But things that are wrong need to change, and that change takes people to stand up and be different. We may not win, but I prefer to live like this, be it less convenient, than allow the status quo to run me down.

  2. I am wondering the about same things myself. I have been sans car for nearly 2 years and it is hard sometimes, certainly it is less "convenient" but I also feel that essential rightness of what I am doing. I accept the sideways looks of most people. The majority of people have been utterly seduced by the car and that seduction is blinding and powerful. Lewis Mumford called it the "muderous motorcar" and warned against too heavy a reliance on one form of transportation. What we need is a transportation system... not a monoculture of highways and little else.
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  3. I am a cycle commuter for much the same reasons. My wife and I were car free from 1999-2007 but we broke down in Oct and got one car. It gets little mileage but it does simplify a number of issues.

    I still fight the good fight myself with my riding.