Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I was following a truck the other day, and noticed a bumper sticker on it. It read: "I'll forgive Jane Fonda when the Jews forgive Hitler."

Now, it goes without saying that the sentiment on the sticker was ridiculous and offensive. Whatever you may think about "Hanoi Jane," as she still is lovingly called, to compare her, and her actions, to what Hitler did is beyond inane. But, that's not what really got me thinking (besides, picking on that part is shooting fish in a barrel).

What really got my mind reeling was the question, "why did this person put this bumper sticker on their truck?" They only had a few stickers on, and this was the only one which was issue-based. So, given that they were going to express their opinion on one issue to the world, for a long time, why was this the one?

I've had the same thought before. I see a car with one bumper sticker, and it espouses the viewpoint on one, often obscure issue. And I think to myself, "why?" Not, "why do they think that?" But, "why do they care about it so much that they needed to put it on their car?"

In this case, though, the thought was heightened because of the nastiness of the sticker. Look, I don't think a lot about Jane Fonda's activities during the Vietnam War, and I don't have much of an opinion on them. But, even if you believe, 100%, that she was wrong, and terribly so, why does that compel you to put this hateful, nasty mini-diatribe on your car? What makes you think that she's like Hitler, and what makes you want to let everyone else know that you think that? To put it bluntly (and tritely?) why do you want to share your nasty venom?

I'm not suggesting that we all try to make the world a place of pink flowers and Kumbaya sessions. I'm not advocating a world without conflict and passion. I'm just wondering, somewhat idly, what makes someone want to take an old, stale anger, hold on to it so dearly, and then tag themselves with it. It just seems that there has to be a better way to use what small platform we have in life.

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