I1ULOST – A license plate for our times

A few minutes ago I was driving back from work and pulled up behind a car – I think it was a fairly new Mustang – with a license plate reading “I1ULOST.”

I don’t think it’s fair to say that I felt angry.  Just that I felt a pulsing twitch in my left eyebrow, which is usually a sign that I’m under entirely too much stress.  But I couldn’t help but think that this guy’s license plate is nothing more and nothing less than analog for the times we live in.

Let’s be honest—I’ve always been what I consider center-left leaning. I’m big on tolerance, equality, open-ness in government. But I’m also a believer in the right to bear arms, maintaining a strong military, and in the U.S. having an influential (and positive) world role.

Something in the politics of the last decade or more, however, has moved me into the anger zone of a radical. My politics have pretty much stayed the same, but it seems as if the entire country has taken 5 giant steps to the right, leaving me way out in left field.

It’s the sheer meanness that gets to me.

Okay, I get it. The economy went bad.  Like a lot of people, my job vanished in late 2008, and I found myself first contracting for most of 2009, then changing careers entirely at the end of that year. I became downwardly mobile. But two and a half years into my new career, I’m on my way back up.  In short, I’ve been lucky.  I currently make a little more than half of what I was ten years ago, which puts me in pretty good shape, considering the millions of Americans who ended up on unemployment, for years, in some cases, or worse, the roughly four million women and children in our country who have no cash income or government assistance at all.

The constant attacks from the far right seem to be going after everything I believe in. In the name of religious freedom, they are attempting to impose their own on everyone else. In the name of Jesus, they are attempting to yank away whatever help we have for the poor, in order to finance sweet tax deals for the rich. In order to turn back the clock to the nineteenth century, they’re jailing women who have miscarriages, passing laws which amount to state-mandated rape, removing collective bargaining rights from unions, and a host of other ill-considered ideas.

Our whole society seems to be shifting, and in the wrong direction. The forty hour work week is dead. Health insurance is a dream for many working employees (many health plans cost more than minimum wage employees make). There are actually proposals in Arizona and Florida to lower the minimum wage. Seriously.  Do you have any idea what a minimum wage worker makes? I do, because I pay my employees that in cash each week. Let me tell you, it’s less than my family’s grocery budget. Much less housing. And some Republicans are arguing to make it lower?

Let sick people without insurance die. Drive more into poverty. Abuse workers by lowering their pay, eliminating their benefits and jeopardizing their safety.

It’s too much. They’re going too far. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a replay of the nineteenth century.

Personally, I want to live in a country where our decisions are guided not by I1ULOST, but by kindness and understanding. I want to live in a country with marriage equality, with universal health care, with a solid public education system, and where my children can grow up with opportunities to at least have as good a life as I have, preferably even better.



  1. Brian Hawkinson

    Okay so here’s my little rant:

    It doesn’t help when left and right politicians sells us both out such as Clinton with China, Bush with NAFTA, and now Obama with Korea. Also environmental laws are great, but tire inflation laws? Really? Can’t use a green technology such as a landfill gas to energy generator because it falls under the reg of a back up generator? All of that has sold out the little person in the United States. The worst part is we are hypocrites for it. We are supporting countries who have less environmental laws than we do and EVEN WORSE employee health care.


    The money we had.. GONE. 15 trillion dollar debt and we dug our own hole and are continuing to dig our own hole. The problem is you either go far left or far right.. but you only go far left if you can go far right at the same time (points to Norway regarding their great citzen healthcare and oil rigs).

  2. Scouts Out!

    I feel it is safe to say that we agree, in regards to our discontent about the direction in which our (once?) great nation is going. We diverge a bit, though, on our beliefs on the foundations of its degradation. I fail to concur on the notion that it is all right wing action that is the driving force. Not all right wingers are hell bent on slapping women into daisy-chained pregnancy and submission and forcing all their shoes into a giant mountain to be burned like books in Bradbury’s dystopian novel so they may be barefoot.

    I see myself from the other side of the fence, center-right leaning. While we share the ideologies of tolerance and equality, I am firm in my belief that we need as small a central government as possible, only as large as necessary. The states should be at their discretion to rule themselves without much federal intervention. Our nation has lost its way through over regulation, too much oversight and taxation which places an uncessary burden on the ordinary citizen.

    What incentive do I have to innovate, to produce something tangible, to develop a business and grow it up. What incentive do I have to hire employees and provide them sustenance and hope for their collective future.

    There is no hope for the inspired entrepreneur to carry forth with their vision so long as their leg is short chained to a stake (put in place by the democratic party) to be shot dead (by taxation) as game in some sadistic arena. God forbid I earn six, perhaps seven figures, lest I be labeled a one percenter. Blood, sweat, toil and trouble only amount to financial disembowelment of one’s corporation, the viscera to be distributed to the needy, the poor, the sick and lame.

    Why should the fruits of my lifelong efforts be distributed to the blissfully ignorrant, to the uneducable, to those who mean to find entitlement from any source more successful than them. Why NOT shelter the spoils of my labor? This country honestly allows us all equal access to one thing… a hole in the ground, six feet under. We’re no different than any other country in that regard. What we do with our time here, though, is solely up to us. Some are more crafty at devising ways of making money, others are more crafty at trying to steal it from others. Some do it by rooking others in white collar crimes, others do it by taxing anyone wealthy. Both sides of the fence, it is plain WRONG.

    If more energy was spent trying to promote entrepreneurship, providing more collateral to young businesses, less taxation, less insurance to allow them to flourish, we would see more budding companies succeed. While the minimum wage may be lowered in some states, it ought to be off-set by government subsidies. Companies receive tax breaks for promoting up their employees off the min-wage allowance.

    On the notion that ALL right wingers are supportive of forcibly raping women seeking abortions… come on, really? I don’t see women to be as stupid as to allow this. There’s a thousand ways to skin a cat. The internet is a strong source of information and those who really want to take that avenue are armed with the knowledge should they choose and NOT involve a doctor and noone would ever know. Whether coat hangers, certain leaves, roots, OTC meds or Rx meds of various types, even applying pressure to pressure points on her foot, I seriously don’t feel any laws will stop a woman from term’ing a fetus that she is determined not to carry. The laws will only lead many women to ill health or untimely death by seeking alternative care.

    The habitual chronic termination of fetuses by some individual women as a primary means of birth control is the driving force that causes some to step up and say, hey, this isn’t right.

    Just as it is illegal for a man to hit a pregnant woman in the stomach with a baseball bat or cause her harm in some similar way causing the premature loss of the baby, it should be equally illegal for a woman to inspire fumes while she is making crystal meth in her kitchen and each should carry the same sentance. If she uses cocaine or some other ilicit recreational drug for her pleasure and it causes the harm or death of her unborn child, she should be duely punished no different than if she were to hold her child’s head under a tub full of scalding hot water to the point of drowning.

    I don’t see women being arrested for miscarriages. In the news, I see women being arrested for stupid actions that resulted in fatal harm to their unborn children. Slitting their wrists in a suicide attempt? Attempting to hang themselves? Driving into a tree drunk w/ no seatbelt? Who in their right mind would go against defending the unborn in cases like that? Would you sit by and watch your neighbor through the windows next door hang her children one by one by their necks until dead or forcing them to drink Drano? Heck no, you’d call the police and probably kick the door down to stop her.

    If she takes a prescribed medication such as methotrexate or mifepristone that is her moral choice. In the later case, she prevents pregnancy because it never happened in the first place as she’s not yet ovulated and even if she has, the blastocyst won’t implant due to the lack of endometrial development for that cycle.

    In cases where abortions are necessary to prevent harm to the expectant mother, I cannot see why anyone would have any say what a woman decides for herself TO PRESERVE HER LIFE. For God’s sake, what’s a doctor’s first directive… but to cause no further harm.

    While I would personally like to see the minimum wage increased, it IS a minimum… there is nothing saying an employer can’t make the choice to hold the minimum at some level above the established min-wage in the event that the state lowers the minimum.

    For the past four years, I have listened to nothing but a bunch of ranting and raving from many fanatical left wingers… and that is tantamount to the ideology of I1ULOST. While their elected official of choice is in office and that administration is making horrible choices for the future of this country, they still stomp cry and moan snibbling about every last facet that doesn’t go their way in the political scene. Can people honestly not be satisfied with what they have?

    Ending our involvement in wars, reinvesting those funds in education and infrastructure, capitalism and firming up our borders from threats foreign and domestic… these initiatives must be our common resolve.

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