The 2010 elections are here, and at no time in recent history has Washington been so divided. Less than two years ago, then Senator Barack Obama led a movement united by the desire for change. Voters wanted a new era of bipartisan cooperation, openness, and an abandonment of "politics as usual."

The realities of backroom politics quickly eroded campaign ideals. Whether President Obama and the Democratic leadership failed to deliver, or his opponents refused the invitation, the battle lines were fortified and partisan rancor is now stronger than ever.

We are again at an election crossroads in which many voters are seeking "change." That's what this issue of the magazine is about-an opportunity to consider how actions being taken by federal and state lawmakers impact you, the auto enthusiast. The need for the enthusiast community to stay informed and become involved is greater than ever. From emissions to auto equipment standards, the government is making decisions about your current and future car.

The future of our hobby depends on you. The ballot box is one venue for making your views known. We also urge you to work collectively with your fellow enthusiasts. How? Join the SEMA Action Network (SAN). The SAN is a partnership between enthusiasts, car clubs, and members of the specialty auto parts industry in the U.S. and Canada who have pledged to join forces in support of legislative solutions for the auto hobby. It's free to join, and the SAN keeps you informed about pending legislation and regulations-both good and bad-that will impact your state or the entire country. It also provides you with action alerts, speaking points, and lawmaker contact information if you want to support or oppose a bill. Join now: www.semasan.com.

Although it would be impossible to cover every house bill or current law, we felt it pertinent to shed light on what we feel are some pressing issues that will affect the readers of Mopar Muscle.

Scrappage
In recent years, state and federal officials have attempted to implement emissions-reduction programs that target older vehicles. Most scrappage programs allow "smokestack" industries to avoid reducing their own emissions by buying pollution credits generated through destroying these vehicles. These programs accelerate the normal retirement of vehicles through the purchase of older cars, which are then typically crushed into blocks of scrap metal. Hobbyists suffer from the indiscriminate destruction of older cars, trucks, and parts, which anyone undergoing a restoration project can attest. America safeguards its artistic and architectural heritage against indiscriminate destruction, and our automotive and industrial heritage deserves the same protection. In other words, "smokestack" corporations are allowed to continue to pour billions of tons of pollution into the environment if they destroy old cars that in the scale of things have a minute impact.

While some legislation designed to spur sales of new and used automobiles is positive, such as vouchers towards the purchase of a new or used cars or tax credits to help upgrade, repair, or maintain older vehicles, scrappage provisions are not. Scrappage programs focus on vehicle age rather than actual emissions produced. This approach is based on the erroneous assumption that all old cars are dirty cars. However, the true culprits are "gross polluters"-vehicles of any model year that are poorly maintained. Scrappage programs ignore better options like vehicle maintenance, repair, and upgrade programs that maximize the emissions systems of existing vehicles. In the past year, scrappage initiatives have been defeated in California, North Carolina, and Washington.