"I hate cars with a lot of bumper stickers” Bumper sticker seen in West Mt Airy.
I have always loved bumper stickers. I have seen a lot of clever ones, a lot of silly ones, a lot of ones that have me shaking my head, and some that have me pausing to think about the message. But I rarely can go by one without looking at it. There are a number that are humorous: “My other car is a Rolls Royce.” “I love my Granddogs” “Why are you wasting your time reading this?” Some are just advertising, of course, but some of them can go beyond that. There is a one on a car belonging to someone who works at WXPN that simply says, "Music Helps.” I can think of no truer statement.
There are others in my neighborhood that express social political feelings that I truly believe in. My favorite one simply says, “Humankind. Be Both.” That is one of my constant goals in my daily life, and sometimes, when I am upset or angry, seeing that sticker can remind me of that. Another of my favorites says, “Love thy neighbor. Even if they don’t vote, think, or love like you.” Another one that appeals to both John the politico and John the history teacher says, “If you didn’t vote, then don’t complain.” I concur heartily.
People who know me know that I am a Quaker and that I tend to differ from the mainstream in a lot of ways. In my high school days in the 1960’s, a lot of us wore pins and buttons that proclaimed our belief in equality, our opposition to the Vietnam war, and our love of particular philosophers, political figures and ideas. At one point our school tried to ban the wearing of pins, but students kept wearing them. So the school gave up. This was a time when what you wore said a lot about what you believed and thought, and a lot of us obviously wanted to challenge the norms. This is not quite as widespread now as it was then, but denim, long hair, dungaree jackets, Afros and long hair went a long way to proclaiming yourself aligned with the radical and/or hippie lifestyle. It marked a dramatic change in US values, and it has had lasting effects on the culture.
Buttons, pins and bumper stickers are still ways we can proclaim what we believe in, and I am glad that folks are still doing that. There are other folks who disagree with much of what I believe in, of course, and they have their stickers also. A peaceful war of stickers is, to me, much better than the too-often violent disagreements that can break out at marches and protests or simply driving down the street. Someone reading or being read rather than engaged in a shouting match may have a better chance of getting through.
I would be interested in knowing what bumper stickers you see that
appeal to your interests and/or beliefs. If you would, please send some
of them to me. I am curious to see what strikes your eyes, and if I get a
bunch, I will re-print them in a future newsletter. Looking forward to it. Thanks!