Now that the recent hoopla concerning gun racks in the Chevy Volt has had a few days to die down, I’ve got a confession to make.

I’m a Republican, and I love the Chevy Volt.

I’m also level-headed enough to separate my politics from my passions.

In regards to automobiles, I’ve spent the last 30 years driving everything I could get my hands on. I’ve spent a fair amount of time wrenching on things with two or four wheels as well.

The Volt range-extended electric car, in my opinion, represents one of the most significant automobiles of the past 100 years.

More than “just a hybrid” as some have described it, the Volt is an entirely new class of vehicle, one that can run on electric power for short trips or on gasoline for extended ones.

You can hop in a Volt and drive from New York to Detroit, stopping only for gas. I know this, because I’ve done it.

You can go days or weeks without using a single drop of gas, and I know this from experience, too.

The Volt isn’t perfect and it’s not for everyone. If you have a 100-mile-per-day commute, there are probably more cost-effective, conventional hybrid options. If you never need to take long trips, the all-electric Nissan Leaf may indeed be more cost-effective.

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

In the real world, though, my wife's and my daily commuting needs would easily be met by the Volt--using electric power only. When we needed to travel cross-state or cross-country, the Volt would be up to that task, too.

Therein lies the beauty of the Volt: it’s green, but it’s also flexible. It’s neither the most fuel-efficient gasoline powered vehicle, nor the longest-range electric.

On the other hand, it blends these two worlds better than anything else on the market.

When I’m wearing my firearms instructor hat, my job is education.

On a one-to-one basis, it’s easy to reach students and correct misconceptions and half truths. Working with them at a shooting range, I can easily chart their progress and point out why proper understanding of fundamentals is so important.

When I’m wearing my journalist hat, my job becomes much more difficult because I’m not interacting with readers on a face to face basis. Worse, many have preconceived notions and aren’t even willing to consider other perspectives.

The Volt is just one example of how this country has become needlessly polarized in recent years. As a Republican, the media says I should hate it, but as an open-minded gear head, I recognize its significance.

I’ll even admit to enjoying my time behind the wheel when they hit my driveway in press-fleet rotation.

Perhaps if more of us kept an open mind we could go back to engaging in intelligent discussion instead of merely swapping sound-bites from the lunatic fringe on either side.

Yes, I’m a Republican, but I’m also a Volt fan.

Call me crazy, but I suspect I’m not the only one.


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