Saturday, May 30, 2009

Just Say No

I have never been a bumper sticker kind of girl. There is something so personal about slapping a slogan on your car for the whole world to see. It always seems vulnerable and in-your-face for me.

I feel the same way about t-shirts and other apparel. I won't even consider shirts with store names or silly sayings; I do not permit my children to shill for mass producers either, by splashing their little bodies with someone else's name. I just don't like it.

Facebook status updates lately have been like a huge traffic jam I'm stuck in, all the cars idling in a sea of personal opinion and assumption. And I will not be silent another minute.

My "friends" invite me to join their various groups assuming my participation. Other acquaintances decry their political affiliation in an attitude that presupposes my agreement. People complain about the current president and his cabinet, others reference past presidents and their apparent greatness or lack thereof.

I'm not a total scrooge. Some slogans make me laugh, or think or evoke some emotional response. Some of them are even empirically true. But there are two things I dislike about them. The first is that a life reduced to platitudes is not one I want to live. I'd rather not be tacked down by one stupid quote shouted from the rooftops of my status update.

But the second is more insidious and divisive. The animosity people display toward current or former administrations does little to change anything positive. When one can not move beyond her hatred for leaders she is ignoring the point of our democratic system. Whining about it doesn't change anything. Hateful rhetoric, again, has no positive point or result. Our country is more divided than ever and these rallying cry ideologies not only get in the way of a system that is beautifully, if not perfectly, formed, but they hearken to days where dissent was not tolerated, where differences in opinion could get you killed.

I'm sure I sound a little Pollyanna here, and most people would not choose "patriot" as their first word to describe me. Perhaps the real reason I hate these slogans is the arrogance behind them. The arrogant stance that one's position, idea, or belief is supreme. The puffed up assumption that if I know you then I of course agree with you.

All they really make me want to do is roll my eyes or dig in for a debate. Until now, I've either bitten my virtual tongue or been rendered utterly speechless. I need a strategy for replying that will be kind but stop the madness. Any ideas?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, do I ever agree with you. I also hate bumper stickers for this very reason. Let's get to know each other a little before you assume I'll agree with you--or dislike you because I don't. You know?

    I've been avoiding Facebook lately for the same reasons. I don't want people making assumptions about who I am or what I stand for based on what groups I do or do not join or what avatars I do or do not use. It's divisive.