© Josh Sager
The modern American right wing has been no stranger to the concept of figuratively cutting off its own nose in order to spite its face—they are, after all, the party which has spent the better part of the last four years relentlessly trying to kill their own health care plan and deny affordable insurance to their citizens, simply because the law is associated with Obama.
That said, some anti-environmentalists on the right have found a truly unbelievable way of spiting those of us who care about the environment: They are intentionally turning their trucks into smoke-belching monstrosities that expel clouds of dirty carbon exhaust.
The “rolling coal” trend in the south and west involves using a series of engine modifications to make a diesel engine extremely inefficient. Because the modified engine is flooded with extra fuel that it cannot burn fully, the truck’s emissions go from relatively light exhaust gasses to heavy carbon clouds. These clouds are filled with partially combusted fuel, CO2, CO, and soot, and are extremely harmful to human health.
To make this protest trend even more obnoxious, rolling coal trucks have been known to seek out Priuses and other energy efficient cars so that they can blow smoke and dirty soot all over them.
As far as I can tell, this unpleasant method of protesting the idea of rudimentary environmental protection is aimed at doing everything in the individuals’ power to undue the effects of regulation. If the government wants to regulate coal fired power plants, these conservatives aim to make up for lost ground and deny the left wing environmentalists any victory in reducing our carbon output.
Put simply, this form of protest by the right wing is perfectly symbolic of their attitude and conduct surrounding policy issues: they don’t understand what is best for the welfare of the American people, are ostentatiously proud of their ignorance, and will do everything in their power to destroy even the slightest hint of progress.
It doesn’t matter if their protests are expensive (the modifications and wasted fuel from this trend costs hundreds, if not thousands of dollars) or extremely hazardous to the health of everyone around them (the black soot can cause severe respiratory problems in some people), just as long as the right wing is able to dramatically strike out at anything that the left wing or moderates support. Additionally, these individuals appear to have no care about their personal welfare (or they lack any ability to foresee the consequences of their actions) and are perfectly willing to sacrifice their own health to strike out at their opposition.
We have seen equivalent types of protest in the past—like when the right wing made a big show of causing a government shutdown, without any care for the workers or the mess that they were leaving, in order to force concessions from the president—but never in such a cartoonish fashion.
These “coal rollers” are spending thousands of dollars and coating themselves in smelly, carcinogenic, polluting diesel exhaust, in order to protest the idea that the government is stopping coal executives from exploiting our planet for a personal profit. They are sacrificing their own health in order to support the right of executives (who wouldn’t let them into their gated community) to rob their children of a clean planet and reasonable chance at growing up in decent health.