by Jonathan Franzen
Visions of America Quotes in Freedom
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
And that's what I find so refreshing about the Republican Party. They leave it up to the individual to decide what a better world might be. It's the party of liberty, right? That's why I can't understand why those intolerant Christian moralists have so much influence on the party. Those people are very antichoice. Some of them are even opposed to the worship of money and material goods. (3.1.84)
Richard's sarcastic diatribe in his interview with Zachary commends the Republican Party for its rhetoric that praises freedom. Here he questions the alliance in the modern Republican Party between social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and neoconservatives.
"I was still halfway OK as long as I was in St. Paul, but I kept having to drive all over the state for the Conservancy, and it was like having acid thrown in my face every time I passed the city limits. Not just the industrial farming but the sprawl, the sprawl, the sprawl. Low-density development is the worst. And SUVs everywhere, snowmobiles everywhere, Jet Skis everywhere, ATVs everywhere, two-acre lawns everywhere. The god-damned green monospecific chemical-drenched lawns." (3.1.252)
This passage recalls the one that opens the chapter "The Nice Man's Anger," in which we get our first real glimpse of Walter's boiling rage. Fittingly, in both cases, he's behind the wheel. Reading this, we imagine him looking back on his twenty-plus years of environmental activism, and realize that not only has he not made a difference, things have noticeably gotten much worse.
Walter handed him a laminated bar chart. "In America alone," he said, "the population's going to rise by fifty percent in the next four decades. Think about how crowded the exurbs are already, think about the traffic and the sprawl and the environmental degradation and the dependence on foreign oil. And then add fifty percent. (3.1.273)
…And here, instead of thinking about the past, Walter is projecting into the future, and realizing the utter hopelessness of his position. No wonder he's so angry.