Traffic Tickets: Politicians & Double Standards

By Eric Peters, Automotive Columnist

It was a small incident but it revealed something interesting. Not just the hypocrisy of Those Who Rule Us when it comes to the issue of “speeding” — and much else besides. But more deeply, we are afforded a glimpse into the unconscious sense of privilege and entitlement that operates the wheels and cogs inside the minds of these people.

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford — he of the love junkets to South America on the taxpayer’s dime — recently got pulled over on SC Interstate 385 because a state trooper clocked his car at 85 mph. The posted maximum is 70. In many states, over 80 mph is an automatic reckless driving charge — which will cost you your license as well as affordable insurance for the next several years if you’re convicted.

At minimum, 85 mph means a big ticket for… well, anyone except one of Those Who Rule us.

But Sanford’s driver (and Sanford himself) was let go with no ticket at all. The perks of being one of Those Who Rule Us, you see.

In fact, he was barely inconvenienced. The stop itself lasted less than two minutes. Once the cop found out who was in the car, he backed off — and the governor’s car rolled away scott-free.

Here’s the video of the actual stop for your delectation:

When news of this leaked, guess who got nailed to the wall? Not Governor Sanford. Initially, the trooper who failed to write the ticket was to be “cited,” according to State Department of Public Safety DIrector Mark Keel. Eventually, the driver did, in fact, get a ticket. But only after a massive public outcry. The fact we should fix on is that the state cop immediately backed off once the governor made himself known. He, you see, may drive with impunity at high speeds on public roads. It is only “unsafe” (and ticketable) for the little people to do so.

As not One of Those Who Us, my sympathies are with the cop. A lowly functionary doesn’t ticket the state’s jefe anymore than a sergeant tells a general to drop and give him twenty. The poor cop no doubt feared for his job and whatever other dread repercussions the governor might decide to rain down upon him.

So, he let him (and his driver) go.

That’s not what aggravates here. What does aggravate is the Herman Goring-esque sense of importance and entitlement these poo-bahs radiate. Not since the Bourbons of 18th century France has a political class become so grating, unctuously arrogant. You or me or any other non-person doing 85 on the highways of South Carolina would in all likelihood be subjected to a gun-drawn felony stop and very likely, a roadside cuffing and stuffing. Probably our car would be searched for drugs. And then, impounded. We would have eventually been brought before a Torquemada-style judge and raked over the coals. After investing in a lawyer to defend us and hundred of dollars in fines and a suspended/revoked license later, we’d be “free to go.”

Free, that is, to pay jacked-up insurance premiums based on our “reckless driving” for the next three-to-five years, or however long the record remained active.

But kissy-face Sanford Man? Nothing. He hasn’t got an SCCA license and probably can’t drive as well as many of us “speeders.” But he is, after all, the governor.

Apparently, speed only kills when you’re not that.

Oh, and it bears mentioning that back in 2006, when the lieutenant governor of the state was stopped — and let go –twice for speeding, Sanford went on and on about the horror of it all. He felt “…very strongly that preferential treatment should never be a factor when enforcing the law.”

Just like those “family values,” you see.

These people are beneath contempt.

Unfortunately, they also have their boots on our necks — which means there is nothing we can do about it except take it or begin to resolve not to take it anymore.

And then, to do something about it.

What that something ought to be I cannot say. But clearly, it is time to do something. Everything is out of whack. Average people are held to one standard; the politically connected elite to another.

Those Who Rule Us need to go. Either that, or we can expect to be on the receiving end of more of the same.

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