Putting your cash where your bumper sticker is
I’ve never walked away from a confrontation feeling better than I did before the argument began. It was for that reason I said nothing to the lady who cut me off only a few minutes before. It wasn’t as if she threatened my life. She simply looked me in the eye, ran the stop sign and caused me to swerve and hit my brakes. Like most examples of aggressive driving, it did her little good. We both ended up at the same place only minutes apart. When I pulled in next to her, it seemed that she recognized my truck. She jumped out of her SUV and hurried away.”Excuse me, ma’am,” I said as I opened my door. “What?” She spun on her heels, faced me; she was ready. “You left your lights on,” I said.
She relaxed only slightly and said, “They’re on a timer, they’ll shut off.”It could have been my imagination, but I noticed a sheepish look before she hurried away. As I walked behind her vehicle, I looked back to see if her lights were really going to shut off. That’s when I noticed her bumper sticker, “Commit random acts of kindness.”Bumper stickers are how we would like to think of ourselves, but not necessarily how we are. They are a declaration of who we would like to be.In these polarized times, our bumper stickers are indicative of the strong feelings of the various camps. Part of me feels whatever it takes to get Americans politically and socially involved is a good thing. Unfortunately, bumper stickers are mere lip service to a cause, and show little actual commitment. I’d like to change that. I know you antigovernmental-intervention types will hit the roof on this, but I’m suggesting we create one more federal agency; the office of “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.” This agency would be in charge of issuing bumper stickers. Citizens would go to one of many convenient locations and purchase the political slogans or Christian/Darwin fish emblems of their choice – the key word being purchase.Let’s say you want to put a “We Support Our Troops” sticker on your Hummer, certainly a worthy concept. This agency would issue your bumper sticker only after you pledged a substantial amount of money that would actually go to supporting our troops.
Maybe for every million stickers sold, our government could buy a bomb or establish a fund to pay our soldiers’ mortgages until they return home. By the same token, those who choose to protest the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan could donate funds to Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF or Amnesty International and be issued a sticker that reads Support Peace. Christian fish stickers would only be given to those who can prove they tithe (donate 10 percent of wages) to a church, and those who want to display the Darwin stickers must give to public education. Of course, there would be no charge for those who wish to display allegiance for sports teams, college affiliations or product endorsements. Anyone willing to place a Colorado Rockies sticker on a vehicle should be encouraged. Moreover, Grateful Dead bumper stickers would be free because they let the cops know who to stop first at drug checkpoints.When I was a kid, I wanted my old man to buy me a new bicycle; he agreed to pay for half.I mowed lawns to save for my share. On the way home from the store, my new bike in the trunk, my dad asked me to figure out how many hours of labor went into my purchase.
We went over the hours we both worked for my new ride. His contention was that I should think of what I want in terms of how much I am willing to work to achieve it. He said, “If you’re not willing to sacrifice for something, maybe you don’t want it bad enough.”This program of paying for your agenda would go a long way in teaching the lesson that politics and policies are not free, nor do they come without human suffering and sacrifice. If you believe in war, you should be willing to fight or pay extra to have others do so. If you support peace, the least you can do is volunteer your time or give freely of your cash to organizations that promote your principals. Do I practice what I preach? No, not always. I, too, am guilty of not always walking the walk of my ideologies.But that ends here and now. So in the spirit of exactitude, I’m removing my Sexy Senior Citizen bumper sticker from the fender of my Vespa motor scooter. Let no one accuse me of false advertising …Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of “Biff America” can be seen on RSN television, heard on KOA radio and read in several mountain publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is an encore performance. Mr. America returns with original work next week, he promises.
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