Apparently this was my morning for right-wing bumper stickers. On the way to work I found myself behind two separate vehicles, each sporting its own constellation of idiotic slogans.
The first vehicle had four stickers on the back. I forget what the one on the left was. The one on the right said: "One Big A* Mistake America" (There was a little flag where I put the asterisk.)
So, y'know, okay. I tend to think that playing with people's names is grade-school playground bullshit, but at least the basic message was a viable political opinion.
Top center sticker was an American flag, and there wouldn't have been anything worth commenting on if the owner of the vehicle had stopped there. Unfortunately, there was another sticker underneath the flag. It said: "If you're offended by my flag, call 1-800-LEAVE-THE-US."
This is, frankly, delusional. I have never once in my life - even when walking around in a hotbed of liberalism like Texas Christian University - heard anyone say, "Oh. My. God. That's an American flag, and they've put it right there in front of the Post Office. That is so offensive. I mean, how could anyone even think that was okay, right? And look at it: it's huge. And it's up there on that pole, where everyone can see it. Won't someone think of the children?"
And yet, this guy not only thinks that there are people out there who are offended by the flag - in the middle of North Texas, no less - but that they're out there in such numbers that he must take a stand about it by putting this bumper sticker on his car.
Now, don't get me wrong here. I have been... not offended, exactly, but perfectly appalled... by the way some self-defined patriots treat their flags. Putting a miniature flag on your car or motorcycle and leaving it up until it shreds itself in the wind doesn't seem exactly respectful. Wearing shorts with an American flag pattern makes me think, Dude, you're wearing the flag on your ass. This is probably not the intended effect. (I'm reminded of the Jesus Light Switch.) Hell, a while back I got to observe a Teabagger rally on my lunch break, and the first thing I saw was a woman demonstrating her intense patriotism by letting her flag drag along the ground as she ambled over to join the crowd. But in all these cases, it's not the flag that's offensive, it's the way the flag is being treated.
...But I digress.
The second vehicle was, by contrast, actually somewhat understandable. This one was entirely focused on abortion. The sticker that initially caught my eye said: "You can't be CATHOLIC and PRO-CHOICE." Now, that's a bit silly - there are plenty of people who are both - but at least I can see where they're coming from. It was a mini-van, and the back had at least two other stickers. One was advertising an AM radio station - I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that it was probably Christian - and the other just said: "Abortion is the ultimate child abuse."
I'd have blown it off completely - I mean, a Catholic who's opposed to abortion? Not exactly news - but as I was passing the mini-van, I realized that there were more stickers on the sides. Now, at that point you've moved past "I endorse this position" and into "I must make sure everyone knows my opinion all the time". The best part, though, was the particular sticker I happened to lay eyes on as I went past. It said: "A Pro-Choice Catholic is a Pro-Abortion Catholic."
So now I'm left marveling. That's ridiculous, I think to myself. You just told me there's no such thing as a Pro-Choice Catholic.
Folks, when it comes to bumper stickers, the first rule is this: the fewer, the better. You have much better odds of not making yourself look stupid that way.