“C'mon over here Swift,” the trucker said over the CB radio today. He was in the middle lane, holding back the traffic behind him so that another 18 wheeler (a Swift Company truck) in the right lane could move over to the middle lane and allow vehicles to his right in the on-ramp to merge onto the highway. It was rush hour in Nashville, on I-40 west-bound from Knoxville. I was trying to find my delivery point downtown, and had the CB on to stay on top of traffic developments. One driver was trying to find a truck stop downtown. “Exit 48, driver,” answered a local trucker, adding, “watch yourself over there.” As I found my exit toward Fairfield Avenue, I heard a standard complaint: “What's with all this traffic?” “Well,” came the standard answer, “it's rush hour and there's just too many cars and not enough asphalt.”
The warehouse was a small place with no parking lot, which meant that a couple of the employees had to stop traffic on the street so that I could set up and back my rig across the street and into the customer's shipping dock. Even with the trailer backed against the dock, the nose of my rig stuck out into traffic, so I had to disconnect from the trailer and take the tractor across the street and wait while the trailer was unloaded. Turning the radio back on, I heard the tail end of an argument. “I've been out here 25 years, and no one talks to me like that!” said one fellow who was clearly worked up and sounded a lot like Walter Brennan. “Uh, hand, I believe someone just did talk to you like that,” came the reply. The term “hand,” as in field hand, or working hand, is a common term amongst truckers. “Well, I tell ya,” drawled a deep baritone, “I been at it for pert near 40 years now. I started out with nuthin', and after all this time I still got plenty of it.” “I hear ya, hand,” answered another driver. “But I tell ya,” continued the baritone, “what I got, I paid for, and I don't owe nobody a [expletive] thing. Now do you think the politicians can say that?”
You might say that the man had a point. But really, what does he know? After all, he's just a guy trying to make the plans of his company, dispatcher, broker, shipper, and receiver become a reality while earning a living for him and his family and not running over anyone. He probably doesn't even understand the years of selfless dedication, solemn study, intellectual rigor, and the boat load of credentials it takes to so thoroughly screw up a country. Why, he's probably just a simple minded amateur who would no more saddle his grandchildren with his debt than fly to the moon on a hobby horse. He probably even believes that his government should abide by the same principles, the rube. And though some may howl with laughter, he very likely has a low opinion of those politicians who believe they can transcend mere logic, and who even now are driving the country to the brink of insolvency while demanding still more spending, more power, more debt, and more taxes. What would you call a man of such questionable scruples?
He probably took a dim view of police officers in Georgia who shut down a child's lemonade stand because the girls didn't have the proper permits and licenses. Such an unenlightened rogue probably wouldn't take too kindly to being man-handled by the TSA, and likely suffers from the antiquated notion that in America, it's the people who issue the orders to the government, not the other way around.
Now that I think on it, he might even be a member of that Tea Party group. You know, the un-credentialed citizens who spoke loudly and clearly last November after being told to sit down and be quiet. They fired Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, installed a solid Republican majority, and were then promptly told by both Democrats and Republicans to check their principles at the door and start compromising. Unsophisticated and untutored in the mysterious ways of the Beltway, they honestly expected their votes to be honored. How naive can you get? Besides, Harry Reid says they smell bad, Tom Harkin calls them a “cult fringe,” and Janeane Garofalo says they're racists.
But they do come in handy. When relieving soldiers of their nail clippers, patting down toddlers, and classifying returning war vets as potential terrorists fails to keep the bad guys off of airplanes, it's the regular citizen who subdues the maniac who is trying to ignite a shoe bomb, underwear bomb, or who charges the cockpit yelling “Allahu Akbar.” It's the regular citizens who make up a sizable portion of the Armed Forces, and could win these wars if the enlightened class ever turned them loose. Other than that, I suppose they're suitable only for viewing behind a glass case, on the outside of which there should be an ax and a sign reading, “Break Only In Case of Emergency.” In the meantime, there's no need to panic. After all, the professionals, politicians and tacticians have it all in hand, right? Just hide your bank cards and daughters and all will be fine.