Friday, September 18, 2009

Bike Nazis?

Yeah, I know, Godwin's Law. This term always riles me up a bit.

Partly it's because it diminishes the horror that was Nazi Germany and diminishes the sacrifices of the millions of Europeans and Americans who fought, lived and died because of that regime. Well, ok, mostly that's why - my grandfathers fought in WWII, both in the European theater. Grandma Picio was almost literally Rosie the Riveter - she built B-24 bombers at Henry Ford's Willow Run plant in the 1940s, and birthed a child (my dad) and raised him for over a year until her husband came home from the war. (In fact, since the real "Rosie" worked at Willow Run, it's possible they even knew each other. I have a number of friends who had relatives who died in concentration camps during the war. So, yeah - Bike Nazi, Lawn Nazi, Soup Nazi, they all cheapen and diminish the evil that was the National Socialist Party in Germany during the 30s and 40s. (To be fair, "Soup Nazi" is humorous, but a brilliant comedy sketch has spawned hundreds of imitations that water down the term)

So, what provoked this? A comment on the Oregonian's website, of course. CRC looks to be scaled back because of the economic climate, and the groups and polities that formerly supported it are dropping one by one. Now, I know, reading the Oregon Live comments is a long walk off the short pier of pissed-offedness, but sometimes it has to happen. If nothing else, reading the statements of others who I violently disagree with helps me to clarify my own positions, attitudes and beliefs. (If you don't learn from your enemies, the problem lies more with you than with them)

We're NOT "Bike Nazis". We don't round up motorists into concentration camps and execute them. (and besides, have you ever tried biking in those jackboots?)

We're advocates and activists, at least some of us. We're bicycle commuters, people who deal every day with operating completely unprotected around 1-3 TON machinery operated largely by poorly-trained and unskilled operators, who largely fail to pay close attention to their surroundings. Yes, that can put us a bit on edge, but the current system was built to cater to these machines, and not to people on bikes or on their own two feet.

And that's my morning rant...

No comments: