"It [government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
Bumper Stickers I'd Love to See
One thing I've noticed about bumper stickers: They piss off adults and amuse adolescents. Motorists stuck behind my slow-moving vehicle are forced to read a dozen or so flippant, provocative or anti-authoritarian messages before can safely pass (see photo). Most of these motorists emerge stony-faced, staring straight ahead, as they speed past me on some country road.
By contrast, kids bouncing around in the back seat of passing cars flash me the peace sign or wave. Unlike their parents, they recognize that ideas'even flippant ones--unlike political or religious ideologies, cannot harm them. A bumper sticker, unlike the endless stream of state or corporate propaganda, intends to question, not support the status quo. A bumper sticker may amuse, provoke, bolster, irritate, challenge, annoy, reassure, enlighten or propagandize a reader, but seldom does it attempt to remain neutral or pimp for deceptive ideas.
And that is what scares most adults. Especially seeing or hearing any message'especially a bumper sticker--contrary to accepted ideas of the mainstream. One writer even documented some of the messages seen in Oregon--Bumper Stickers to Live By--existing messages, humorous, trivial and profound. To these I'd like to suggest several more, pertinent commentaries to the empire we've become. Perhaps someone will reproduce them in vinyl, suitable for the backsides of motor vehicles.
'Bushed Yet?' Pretty much says it all. Pithy yet powerful, and liberals and conservatives can agree on the answer to the question. Yup, we are.
'Support The Troops'Adopt Their Families!' What better way to show your patriotic support, aside from bringing the troops home, than to do something generous. And this message would be an act of one-upmanship against those sanctimonious motorists with their magnetic ribbons, suggesting we support the troops but not suggesting how.
'911'The Immaculate Deception.' This message pretty much sums up where I stand on that subject. Even better might be, '911'The Big Lie.'
'Neo-Conned.' Another topic that most Americans increasingly agree with but the idea seldom appears in the mainstream press. Sure, we hear faint bleats from the press, in the form of polls, that poor President Bush is suffering in popularity, but rarely do we here a pundit say the Neocons screwed us. Or to be more exact, to say the Neocons screwed the USA.
'The War on Terror . . . Or Just Terror?' What is terror? Isn't it murder and mayhem and bombings and arson and unlawful arrests and tortures? If you answered Yes, then WE are the terrorists in the Middle East.
'Vote! Trust The Black Boxes. They Never Lie.' Here is a phrase George Orwell'or George Bush--might have devised for Big Brother to use in Orwell's powerful, futuristic (as in right now) novel, 1984. Who knew a nation of sheep called America would trust a system of voting where the entrenched rich and powerful special interests got to pick the computer manufacturer who counts their votes. Laughable, if it weren't so damnable painful.
Likewise a bumper sticker like the one above, or perhaps, 'Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain'Support The PATRIOT Act.' becomes a satirical response to the Orwellian times we live in. I believe the best bumper stickers combine humor with either a pithy message of cynical rage or obstinate hope. Stating an obvious truism'Question Authority'doesn't hurt the message but only makes it stronger, scarier and more effective. Add humor to that truism and any message becomes irrefutable.
'Laura Bush Deserves Better . . . And So Do We,' is humorous and truthful, especially the latter part of that message. Now, perhaps Dubya is a damn good husband. God only knows. But I'd prefer a drinking, smoking, cussing womanizing son of a bitch, but a man with a firm, ethical and conscientious grasp on the role of leadership, to a sober, sanctimonious, pompous ass.
'Frankly My Dear, I Don't Give A Damn!--About This Goddamned War.' Should motorists (and their precious kids) be forced to see some four-letter words on the ass end of some car? Hollywood first used the word "damn" in the 1939 Hollywood blockbuster 'Gone With The Wind.' That was a powerful film about an obscene war. Certainly American kids forced to fight obscene wars can handle a four-letter word on the ass end of cars that expresses perfectly what they might soon be feeling.
Isn't it about time somebody devised an argument against all those magnetic Support The Troops ribbons? Personally, they make me gag. Reminds me of that time immediately after the 'terrorist' attack on 911, when a popular bumper sticker immediately surfaced: 'These Colors Don't Run!' Remember that bumper sticker? Only problem was, that cheapass bumper sticker (I had one) fell apart after the first rainstorm. People who adorn their cars with "Support The Troops" magnetic ribbons may believe they are supporting the troops, but it is their grandchildren who will pay for the war.
I'd like to see a more truthful bumper sticker, for example: 'Suppose They Gave A War'And It Never Ended?' This message is a twist on that popular Vietnam era bumper sticker: 'Suppose They Gave A War And Nobody Came.' Because now we have never-ending wars against ambiguous enemies, many of them former allies.
I'm certain that when this Iraq War winds down, next year or five years from now, we war critics will be blamed for the loss. As if it was our fault the Neocons tossed the troops in there. And people, especially those good, God-fearing Red-Staters, will believe all the accusations they hear, because Fox News and talk radio will trumpet the message a dozen times a day.
So we need a bumper sticker NOW.
How about, 'No War Protester Ever Lost A War Started By Idiots'? I'm sure my readers could come up with something even better. I'd suggest you start manufacturing bumper stickers now and not lose any time. When the state-supported media bloviators get started, they will inundate the country with the news that we war critics somehow 'lost' the war.
Just as we lost the one in Vietnam.