As is true for all tragedies, the Carpocalypse and subsequent failure of the U.S. automakers has encouraged a wide array of reactions ranging from overwhelming patriotism to over-exaggerated panic. We look at the five most common responses below.
Nothing says "we love America" more than "we hate everyone else." Domestic car dealers are clearly on the front lines of this downturn in sales and have turned to hating on foreign car companies. A dealer in South Carolina is running angry rants on the radio (listen here) that blame anyone who buys a Toyota for their own loss of employment. The most xenophobic car dealer award probably goes to Bob Swift of Sacramento who sells Chrysler products and had this to say:
"People are reluctant to buy our cars because of the perception that maybe the quality isn't what it should be. Therefore, they're going to buy Japanese, they're going to buy a German car, forgetting that 50 years ago, we had to bomb those people and kill them by the thousands to keep them from overtaking our country."
Even if you ignore the many Japanese and German cars built and/or assembled in South Carolina and California, the foreign car companies are doing just as poorly.
Riots in Detroit used to be so common David Bowie wrote a song about it. The catastrophe that is the not-so-Big Three is no exception. People are selling their stuff, refusing to fly and trying to keep their profile low. We're just waiting for this to happen next in Detroit. Of course, that's only if anyone's left living there.
With so many jobs in jeopardy and so much emotional investment in American companies, it isn't surprising people are playing the blame game. We have senators blaming CEOs, pundits blaming unions and Barney Frank yelling at everyone it isn't a happy time to be involved in the industry.
Nietzsche said "Faith means not wanting to know what is true." We wouldn't mention this to the hundreds of thousands of people who rely in Detroit for a job and don't want to be unemployed this Christmas. The congregants of Detroit's Greater Grace Church here are praying someone, anyone, performs a miracle and saves Ford, Chrysler and GM. They've gone so far as to pray over hybrids in a church based in Detroit. Sadly, they've already cancelled one of the worshiped hybrids. And did we mention they're hybrid SUVs? Hey, Jesus is in the resurrection business. Right?
There's a great scene in the not-so-great The Glenn Miller Story where they're playing a song and a buzz bomb cuts out overhead, the clear sign the bomb will soon fall on someone. Everyone pauses. Silence. Explosion. Everyone, on stage at least, survives with the knowledge they were lucky this time but may not be so lucky again. We think most people are this stage. There's word of a bailout agreement but, even with this Deus ex Congressa there's no guarantee things will be peachy keen. Not knowing for sure what's going to happen we've taken to inventing games, holding symbolic bake sales and selling merch.
Thanks to Jason and Jim for the tips
[Photos: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis via MyWay, David McNew/Getty Images]