As we all know, wingnuts love to get into hysterics about their perceived threats to America as a "Christian Nation." The Heretik's Dumbass du Jour got all bent out of shape about this, wailing that a Muslim taking his oath of office using the Koran somehow "undermines American civilization," while seeming to forget about little American details. These are the same "War on Christmas" people that are convinced if someone says "Happy Holidays" to them, the next thing they will do is force them to light a Menorah at gunpoint.
Of course, there are subtle ways of keeping America "Christian," and one way of doing that is by sneaking a little state-sponsored religion in right under people's noses and onto the rear ends of their cars. (More below the fold.)
But while the "W" stickers are waning, they have been replaced with something far more pernicious, in my opinion. Ladies and Gentleman, presenting Alabama's God Bless America License Plate:Yeah, Christianity being erased from public life is something we really need to worry about in this country. It will be interesting to see if someone sues the state over this. Can you imagine the uproar if they had a similar Muslim plate?
I was just gonna comment how awful that jingo supporters of Bush have found a way to sneak in state-sponsored religion. Aw, isn't this just like "In God We Trust" on the money? Don't get me started. I'M A CHRISTIAN, GOD DAMMIT, AND THIS IS FUCKING OFFENSIVE TO ME.
Deep cleansing breaths.
So I'm looking up the image of this plate from the DMV and just guess what I find out. "God Bless America" is a STANDARD LICENSE PLATE. That means when you go in to get a plain old regular license plate you have a choice. You can get a passenger car plate, a motorcycle plate, a truck plate, a permanent trailer plate, or...a God Bless America plate. Go see for yourself. It's the only standard plate with a message, apart from "Stars fell on Alabama" (great song). No extra charge for God Bless America, and you get to choose it as a default at the Department of Motor Vehicles. No waiting. They will HAND YOU ONE from a pile when you pay the standard fee. No wonder I saw no fewer than eight of these on the school carpool run this morning.
I see stuff like this and I'm really tempted to run for Congress as a prank. I'd just put something in my positions on the issues regarding "eliminating tax exempt status for religious organizations" just to see how extreme the hysteria would become. Of course, I don't, because I enjoy breathing.
Meanwhile, Illinois' standard license plates include two that are, to me, relevant and important: "Persons with Disabilities" (Alabama also has one of these) and "Hearing Impaired." They've even got one for ham radio and "antique vehicle." It's only in the specialty license plates where we begin to see any flag waving with the "America Remembers" plate:
By purchasing the America Remembers License Plates, you help aid victims of terrorism and local governments for training, equipment and other items related to public safety initiatives intended to prevent further acts of terrorism or other disasters or emergency situations in Illinois.Gee, they managed to salute the victims of 9/11, support public safety, and donate to the September 11th fund without mentioning God once. They must have had rocket scientists working on that plate! I'm sure they stayed away from statements like "God Bless America" because religious sentiment has no place on state license plates. That's what bumper stickers are for.
There is a $40 original issuance fee, $25 of this fee is donated to the September 11th Fund, and also a $27 additional fee at renewal, with $25 of this fee being donated to the September 11th Fund.
Oops, sorry, bumper magnets. Wouldn't want to apply any permanence to that sentiment on your slick paint job.
Hmm... Illinois has a "pet friendly" plate. I'll have to remember that.
Anyway, BlueGal continues with one of the weirdest license plates I've ever seen; I seriously thought she was throwing it in there as a prank at first. It's the "Atomic Nuked" plate.
Get this: If you are a veteran who was exposed to an atomic bomb blast in the line of duty, you have to pay three dollars to get a special plate for yourself. I looked this up because I thought it was sort of odd that in the price list it says, "Nuked Veteran." Nuked, like the noodles I had for lunch. They wouldn't actually put that on a license plate, though, and then charge three dollars to someone who was exposed to nuclear radiation defending our country, for the privilege of having it on his/her car...Oh, but indeed they do, Virginia... along with the insulting description, "Atomic Nuked."
As I said to Blue Gal, "Gee, I wonder if they'll have a 'Limbless Veteran' one?" You know, since we're being all sensitive and everything.
Nahh, that'll have to be a bumper sticker, too. They can put it next to the "I went to Iraq and all I got was this lousy disfigurement" one, along with the "Benefits-Slashed Veteran" one. It's a nice way to decorate your home when you're living out of your car.
(He just smiled and gave me a cross-post sandwich...)