The South is rising again!
The great state of Georgia (motto: “Every friggin’ road in the state has the word ‘peach’ in its name”) will now offer its drivers the option of having the Confederate flag on their license plates, not just once, but twice.
Yes, when Johnny comes driving home again with one of these babies, he’ll not only have a small Confederate flag in the foreground, he’ll have a large one in the background. Hoorah! Hoorah! And just for good measure, he’ll be identified as a Son of Confederate Veterans not once, but twice. I believe this is called knowing your audience; some people take awhile to get the message.
I, for one, find this to be alarming. After all, why would you even issue a driver’s license to a son of a Confederate vet? He’d have to be way too old to be driving, wouldn’t he? The drivers in Florida are bad enough; let’s not clog our arteries with 150-year-olds. (And, by the way, I’m not singling out the South here, or even men; I’d also be against having any 230-year-old Daughters of the American Revolution on our highways.)
Ha! Kidding of course. The Sons of Confederate Veterans aren’t the drivers; they’re the group that lobbied for the plates.*
If you live in a blue state (by which I mean the North), you may wonder why Georgia would want to so blatantly advertise the fact that (SPOILER ALERT) they lost the war. It’s kind of like Germany issuing license plates with swastikas, except that, of course, would offend many, many people.
Okay, so maybe there are folks who aren’t all that comfortable with the new Georgia plates. Turns out even Texas, which is not exactly synonymous with forward-thinking, or political correctness, or even science, thinks plates with a Confederate flag can be offensive. Georgia, however, believes the plates are a way for people to honor their heritage.
And while it is certainly debatable whether a heritage that includes slavery, lynchings and all forms of advanced bigotry should be honored, I couldn’t help wondering if there might be some other motive involved, especially since the state agency which approved the plates is not the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles but the Georgia Department of Revenue.**
Maybe this whole thing isn’t as much about whistling “Dixie” as it is about rustling dollars. Just like New York will take a couple of extra bucks to put a Mets logo on your license plate (the driving equivalent of a “kick me” sign), Georgia will gladly take your money in exchange for letting you declare your allegiance–four times–to ol’ Jeff Davis and the CSA.
But let’s put the profit motive aside for a moment, and let’s also leave the moral arguments against the plates to groups like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, whose spokesman said, “To display this is reprehensible. We don’t have license plates saying ‘Black Power.'”
And that brings me to the real problem with this scheme. There is a very good reason why we don’t have license plates that say “Black Power.”
That’s what bumper stickers are for!
On behalf of the nation’s bumper sticker manufacturers and their suppliers (such as immovable paste companies and bumper sticker scraper distributors), I want to take this opportunity to suggest that states should not be putting out license plates with the names of organizations, or slogans, or clever sayings. I mean, what’s next? Plates with Jesus fish? Then there’ll be plates with the names of colleges, or “I brake for animals,” or “My kid is an honor student” or “I brake for honor students.”
And then the entire bumper sticker industry would be gone, and thousands of bumper sticker professionals would lose their jobs, and some of those people might turn to lives of crime, and most of those would get caught (because of their “My other vehicle is a getaway car” bumper stickers), and they’d end up in prison.
Making license plates.
See you soon.
*In case there’s any doubt where the Sons of Confederate Veterans are coming from, one of their heroes, commemorated on a bumper sticker of their own, is one Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general. Forrest was known as “The Wizard of the Saddle,” although it’s unclear whether the nickname came from his riding prowess or the fact that he was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
**For his part, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal claims he was unaware of the plates, which is somewhat believable considering recent events in which he was seemingly unaware of the weather.