To The Editor of The Eagle:
Today, while in a parking lot that contained an inordinate number of the popular hybrid the Toyota Prius, I began to notice another phenomenon. All but one had Elizabeth Warren and Obama bumper stickers, while a few had the triple crown: Obama, Warren and Ed Markey. I thought this was weird. The car that these obviously liberal folks drive is produced by a company that seems to actively NOT share their values.
The Toyota Prius is now built in Japan. The Japanese do not have a strong record on same-sex marriage, unionization or race relations. And when the Japanese build factories in the U.S., they choose places that are on average whiter than average for the state they are in, right-to-work states and states hostile to same-sex marriage. Oddly enough, the Toyota should be the car and truck of choice in Southern Baptist circles, but it’s a cult car to Northern liberals.
The Prius is set to be built in the U.S. in 2015 in Georgetown, Ky., which is not a right-to-work state, but unions are not welcome in the auto industry there. Kentucky, which used to be home to many blacks, saw the African-American population decline as the American auto industry built the black middle class with the Great Migration which took place in the late 1930s through the 1960s. As the auto industry in the north declined, so to has the black middle class.
As foreign companies have put down American roots, a map of the south shows where these firms have located. From Toyota and Nissan to Kia or Hyundai, or Lexus and BMW, the plants have been carefully located in areas that are as white as possible within the given states and all of the states are as far from hospitable to the causes promoted by the buyers of these cars as the North Pole is from the South Pole.
These same folks who want to ban the use of plastic bags, eliminate barriers to marriage, grant amnesty to illegal immigrants, believe that unionization leads to a fairer wage and benefit package for workers -- these same folks choose to make their second-largest purchase that most of us make from companies who could not be less interested in practicing the same politics as their customers if they tried. In fact they do try, yet liberals still buy their cars.
I know that I try not to buy from operations that don’t share my belief system if I can. I try to support U.S. jobs and wish more stuff was made up north, but I understand why companies choose to locate elsewhere since we seem to actively drive business away and then beat on those who remain. But if my politics included support for same-sex marriage, economic justice (whatever that means), helping underserved communities achieve more economic independence, I probably wouldn’t buy a Prius or a Tundra. Unless I was a liberal, since we all know that liberals only want to tell other people what to do, and are not concerned with making sure the way they spend their money matches their belief system.