Political Bumper Stickers: Be Kind To Your Vehicleâ€™s Backside
By: Paul A. Ibbetson
Bumper stickersâ€”we see them every day in almost every form. Sit for a few minutes at a stoplight and you literally see almost every form of human expression slapped across the chrome, and more often plastic bumpers of the vehicles of this nation. The political season is without a doubt a bumper sticker bonanza for the dealers of these sticky examples of free speech. There is almost an endless variety of quips, jabs and simply political low blows that can be affixed conveniently to the backside of your conveyance for other drivers to view in the wake of daily travels. With such awesome sticker possibilities, the question is whether or not we should reflect on the responsibility that comes with politicizing our street-bound chariots.
Like the division between the tattooed and the non-tattooed, car owners have customarily broken up into separate camps of those that believe that their carâ€™s body should remain wholly â€œcleanâ€ and those that have the inclination towards â€œillustration.â€ Common aversions to bumper stickers range from concerns over loss of paint during removal to the notion that stickers simply take away from the vehicleâ€™s original beauty. Despite these arguments, many of the most loyal non-bumper-sticker advocates will break their own non-bumper-sticker pledges during this political season and add support for their personal candidate by way of the rump of their righteous ride. I would speak to all those across this spectrum with a few political protocol suggestions for the 2012 presidential race in the name of bumper sticker sanity.
First, remove all past Election Day stickers. Nothing says â€œdenialâ€ more than an old, crinkled, half-biodegraded â€œJohn Kerry 2004â€ bumper sticker. We have all seen the equivalent before, even on the most beautiful of vehicles, and we have all done the same thing: grunt with displeasure, shake our heads in sadness and die a little inside. Remember, you may be in a wreck while on the road, and removing an ancient, long-dead political sticker might help you avoid unnecessary dementia testing while at the hospital. The potential upsides are just too many to ignore.
Second, one political sticker on your car states your case; twenty stickers says youâ€™re imbalanced. Also, the nature of your sticker says more about you, the vehicle owner, than your political affiliation. As a former police officer who made hundreds of car stops, Iâ€™ve seen that bumper stickers often say a lot about the character of the individual behind the wheel. Just like bumper stickers that say, â€œI love weed,â€ and â€œGot Magic Mushrooms?â€ might not enhance the quality of an interaction with the police, overly vulgar, aggressive and stupid political stickers say something about you. Remember, your mom might have to borrow that car.
Lastly, political bumper stickers have a lifespan that ends on election night: win, lose or draw. This can be hard to swallow for those that have a bumper sticker of a winning candidate now being displayed in all its post-election glory. Trust me, that sticker and your candidate will never look better than it did in that single moment in time. Take a picture, and start applying soap and water. The validity of this thinking is seen every day in the tattered Obama â€™08 stickers still adorned among the declining faithful of the liberal political motorcade. Itâ€™s sad to see and makes many wonder, which has fallen apart worse, the Obama bumper stickers or the Obama presidency?
If a personâ€™s home is their castle then their vehicle is not far removed. Show it some respect this political season. Just as importantly, show some respect to all of humanity in your review mirror, be responsible for yourself and be kind to your vehicleâ€™s backside.
Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelorâ€™s and Masterâ€™s degrees in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and is currently completing his Ph.D. in Sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books including the 2010 release â€œOliverâ€™s Tale: A Squirrelâ€™s Story of Love, Courage, and Revolution.â€ Paul is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Associationâ€™s 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 award-winning radio program, Conscience of Kansas airing on KSDB Manhattan 91.9 FM, www.ibbetsonusa.com. For interviews or questions, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and his Ph.D. in Sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books including the 2011 release “The Good Fight: Why Conservatives Must Take Back America.” Paul is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association’s 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 award-winning radio program, Conscience of Kansas airing on KRMR The Patriot 105.7 FM, www.ibbetsonusa.com. For interviews or questions, please contact him at email@example.com