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The news has been so infuriating, frustrating, and depressing that I have to finally share a tiny good thing that happened a little while back, in Lynchburg, VA--a town where a lot of not-so-good things happen....

Do you have bumper stickers--tiny, mobile billboards that express your identity and your opinions about the world? Have they crept beyond your bumpers onto nearby regions of your car? Do you ever see people stopped behind you, laughing and pointing? On the other hand, has anyone ever pulled around you and flipped you the bird, presumably because of your messages, and not your driving?

I can say yes to all of the above, but I'd never had the experience that happened in a shopping center parking lot, in Lynchburg....

When I returned to my car that day, my heart sank when I spotted a scrawled note on the windshield. After all, this is Lynchburg, home of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, rogue "law enforcement", lots of fundamentalist churches, and lots of Republican voters. I fully expected some abuse, or at least, scolding. After all, who goes out of their way to communicate with strangers, unless they've got the wind up?

But this was the note:

Now, I have a lot of stickers, but I consider my display to be inside the limits of crazy, because they are still limited to vertical surfaces of the car:
my ride
Some pertain to health care, a major concern in my metastatic-cancer-stricken lifestyle...:
bumper sticker: Pro-Cure
...although I do think it's important to maintain a sense of humor, however black:
bumper sticker: Cancer patients get all the good drugs
Others promote local organizations I am a part of:
bumper sticker: Charlottesville Women's Choir
In general, the messages reflect a mixture of ideas, issues, and values that are significant in my life:
bumper stickers: I love mountains and Uke can change the world
bumper sticker: Speed of light (English units)
bumper stickers: Silence is complicity, Hippocrates, and Obamacare
One tough chick (breast cancer survivor) and ukulele tuning
bumper stickers: Blue Star Music and Virginia wine
bumper stickers: Albemarle band booster and I fight like a girl (breast cancer survivor)
...with the occasional political finger in the eye, either subtle:
car sticker (patriotic): Just pretend everything is OK
...or not so subtle:
bumper sticker: Freedom isn't free (pay your taxes)
...and even a little woo....
bumper sticker: Quest
And while we're at it, no extra charge for the bird poo--what can I say, I park under some nice trees!:
bird poo on my car (always)
And inside the car, my guiding spirit on the dashboard (that's a plastic dodo, not a plastic Jesus):
So, whoever you are, thank you for your note. I'm glad that I cheered your day; you certainly brightened mine! I believe that you make Lynchburg a better place.

And friends, please share your favorite vehicle-based messages in the comments section--we all need a lift!

Originally posted to Chantez les Bas on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 10:07 AM PDT.

Also republished by Virginia Kos.


Does your ride have bumper stickers on it?

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| 39 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Used to have one that read (7+ / 0-)

    She Served Too ... but it faded in the Texas sun beyond readability, and last year we sold that (1982) truck....

    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 10:23:14 AM PDT

  •  I like to state my affiliations, but restrainedly. (4+ / 0-)

    My stickers:


        HRC's equality symbol.

        And an American flag.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 10:31:21 AM PDT

  •  One rule of thumb with bumperstickers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chantez les Bas

    when three or more are on the same subject, that is probably the obsession of the car's owner.
    This comes close with the BC survivor stickers (not that it shouldn't, it's obviously a major event).
    I get nervous around cars with several gun related stickers.
    Also interesting to note clusters of bumper stickers. In the late 70s in New England, almost every Volvo wagon had a No Nukes and a Save the Whales. For the past several decades, I've noticed that an NRA sticker, a US Marines sticker and one or more incendiary, hippy-punch stickers group together on local pickup trucks. And once you start with the religious stickers, it quickly gets out of hand.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 10:31:37 AM PDT

  •  I still have peace birds that used to be sold (4+ / 0-)

    by a Kossack.

    In fact, I ordered 30 of them and have given away most of them. They are magnets and sometimes get stolen, but I have extras, so I just get a new one and stick it on my car.

    An unexpected advantage is that it makes my car easier to identify in a parking lot.

  •  Big vehicle w right-wing stickers in my work lot (7+ / 0-)

    and one of them has been tempting me to leave a note.  After all, it addresses me with a direct question,

    "How's that Hope-y Change-y thing working out for ya?"

    Especially with DOMA gone, I think the time has arrived for me to leave a note in response:

    "Pretty darn great.  Thanks for asking!"  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 10:35:54 AM PDT

  •  Mine reads - "Got Science?" (4+ / 0-)

    The ones I've removed because they wore out were "Obama/Biden 2012" and "Coexist" but I respect people who put it out there for what they believe.

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 11:24:26 AM PDT

  •  I once questioned DKos folks about the phenomenon (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnN, lgmcp, zerelda, sow hat, FarWestGirl, gfv6800

    of Lefties and bumper stickers. Lest there be any confusion (I don't think there may be, lotsa folks here know me) I'm a bit to the left of Che Guevara so I certainly don't mean anything derogatory by phrasing the question that way.

    I've been bemused by the bumper sticker thing. It is very cool but seems to be (or, at least used to be) a Progressive thing particularly. So I asked here about that and I so wish I could find the response that just made my whole day.

    For some of us, they're the only things holding our car together.

    Tofu knows nothing but what is good for you. -- dharmasyd

    by Darryl House on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 11:26:00 AM PDT

    •  I see actually quite a few sticker-bedizened (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darryl House

      vehicles of the right-wing variety.  Maybe not quite up to parity with leftie versions, but getting close.  Neither is common, but I'd put it at about 60/40.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 11:42:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lynchburg! aka Falwellia (5+ / 0-)

    I'm just up the road in blue Nelson County. What a pleasant surprise that note must have been for you!

    I don't usually do bumper stickers but I do have what once was a silver stick-on Flying Spaghetti Monster raised decal thing (now pretty much black because I also park under trees). I have an Obama decal on a window, which I have debated removing at times of frustration. And I have a round dog magnet.

    I sometime add bumper stickers during election season, but put them on a magnet sheet first so that they're easy to remove after the election. My Perriello bumper sticker lives on the washing machine now. Sigh.

    Quest Bookshop. Wow.

    My daughter was in the band at Western Albemarle way back when.

  •  This is on it's way to all my friends (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, Gordon20024, Chantez les Bas

    in Richmond and Roanoke (where I had the privilege of living for 10 years). They are going to have some serious cases of bumper-sticker-envy! Some interesting memories around Lynchburg. Served on a regional public health board with a  sister of Falwell. She was a social worker and progressive, with some interesting family dinner table stories. Had a young woman working for me who attended his church while 100% closeted and fighting against herself. I was not there long enough for her coming out (we all knew but she didn't know we knew) but at least we helped her transition to a much more open and accepting church home. This was way way back in the early 90s.  

    “It has to have fire, or I won’t do it” – Angeles Arrien from Get Real! Wise Women Speak

    by CoyoteMarti on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 12:01:15 PM PDT

  •  I inherited a bumper sticker with my car which (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, Chantez les Bas

    was purchased from a friend. I can't remember exactly what it says, but it's an anti-war sticker. I haven't put any Obama/Democrat/Progressive stickers on the car because it's the only car I have and I don't want any knuckle draggers messing with it. In southern NM there are plenty of knuckle draggers. I'm on the mother of all road trips and am currently in Monterey Bay, CA area. I doubt my car would be trashed here because of bumper stickers. If I decide to settle permanently in this area I will no doubt sport some political stickers in the future.

    Best sticker I ever had on a car was "Tuva or Bust" (refers to a book written by Ralph Leighton about his and Richard Feynman's quest to get to Tuva before Feynman's death). I owned this car for 13 years and had only two comments on the sticker. One day I came out of a mall and found a note on my windshield asking if I were a physicist. (Had to laugh at that one. I flunked high school physics and ended up married to a physicist.) Fellow left his phone number and I called him and we chatted for a couple of minutes. Another time I was pumping gas and some fellow commented on my sticker and knew the reference. While owning the car I lived in northern NM, northern CA, Wichita and southern NM. It was in southern NM where I encountered the two responders. Against all expectations, but true.

    “The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return.” - Gore Vidal

    by Hanging Up My Tusks on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 01:18:17 PM PDT

  •  My car has no bumper stickers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa, Chantez les Bas

    (my wife doesn't like them), but if I were to put any on my car, it would be one on each side of the rear bumper:

    What Would Jesus Do?

    What Would Brian Boitano Do?

  •  The best I have seen in a good while was right (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chantez les Bas

    before the election.  There was a cloth top Jeep, pretty new, in front of me and taped on the plastic back window was a nicely word doc type printed sign JEEPS LOVE OBAMA.

    Another that made me laugh was one that only said "Wicked Funny Bumpa Sticka."  
    Had I not lived in Maine for a couple of years I probably wouldn't have understood.  But I had and the simplicity and fulness of it was wonderful.

  •  I used to have bumper stickers on my car (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JamieG from Md, Chantez les Bas

    The one  I liked best showed a photo of a beagle (I am a total beagle person), with the legend above saying: "Mission Accomplished" from

    I took all the bumpers stickers off my car because on a recent Saturday morning I dressed up like a Republican and went to a "morning coffee hour" at the office of my local legislator, who is, of course, Rethuglican. He was quite affable but of course spewed the party line.  

    Reported later to the people who asked me to go there. I don't think I got much info for them, but they said they appreciated it. I was so overdressed (the others in the room, a married couple plus the lege and his office manager were wearing bermudas and knit shirts) that I pretended I was going to a ladies' luncheon an hour's drive away. I took my leave as soon as I decently could.

    I like working at headquarters. It gets more and more interesting as the election looms. Our candidate won her primary, so now we're hoping to get out the vote that will put her in the state house.  There are singularly few women in Virginia's house and senate.  About time we did something about that.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 04:46:15 PM PDT

    •  Undercover! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diana in NoVa

      Ironically, a sister works at a (needless to say) very conservative newspaper east of here, and she recently had to take the bumper stickers off her car at her employer's request.

      Ironically, none of them were partisan-political--and one championed the First Amendment!!!

      "...somewhere to the left of 'Whoopee!'..."

      by Chantez les Bas on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 06:08:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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