America on speed

POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON Jan. 26, 2006 


One night I was driving down the road, the road of life. I looked in my rear view mirror and was surprised to see lights flashing. In the words of R. Kelly: woo woo woo, damn. Here comes a policeman.

Officer McTicket walked up to my window, shined his flashlight right in my face and asked, "Do you know why I stopped you?"

I didn't know.

Apparently I was speeding -- a whopping 14 miles per hour above the speed limit. I wasn't adorable enough to get away with just a warning. Oh no, a full-on citation was coming straight my way to the tune of about a billion dollars. And columnists sure don't make any money. They literally pay us in peanuts. Somewhere an elephant is starving just so I can get my next pay check, but it's worth it.

I broke the law. I got my pricey slap on the wrist. But whatever happened to equal protection under the law? The 14th Amendment? Shouldn't laws apply equally to everyone? Why didn't Joe Blow, who was also speeding, have to give his Christmas money from Grandma and Grandpa to "the man?"

If everyone is subject to random enforcement of the law, does that make us equal? The government says yes. I say no.

I considered going to court to argue my case. I would stand up and defend myself like a true patriot, an American hero, if you will.

Someone would start to softly hum the tune of "Glory, Glory Hallelujah," and the American flag would blow softly in a breeze behind me. (Court rooms are drafty.)

And then I would say, "This speeding ticket goes against every value this nation was founded on. The Declaration of Independence says, 'We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal,' and yet today the concept of equality is an enigma beyond all of our grasps. I just hope that maybe my children's children will live in a world where people regardless of race, religion, creed or speed can be treated the same."

And I might throw in something about terrorism, because that always seems to work well. You know, something like, "The day I got this speeding ticket the terrorists won."

A single tear would drop from the judge's eye and all would be forgiven. He would turn to the police officer with a scowl and say, "You should be ashamed of yourself, Officer McTicket." And he would take away his flashlight.

But I have class on my court date and in the true spirit of being an American, I'm too lazy to bother.

I pondered a thought that haunts every political science student: What if the Founding Fathers came back from the grave? It might make a pretty lame horror movie, but would the zombies endorse random enforcement of the law? Probably, since there obviously aren't enough resources to stop every speeder and I would move to Canada if there were. But I bet if the undead revolutionaries were driving automobiles, they wouldn't obey the speed limits either.

If Officer McTicket tried to ticket the zombies, they'd probably eat his flesh.

Then what, Uncle Sam, then what?


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