It’s Bumper Sticker Time!

US_Senator_Richard_Burr_car,_rear;_Washington,_DC;_2013-10-06It’s politics time in the U.S. And that usually means cars with bumper stickers (small signs with messages) like those in the photo.

Political bumper stickers first appeared in 1952. That’s when former World War II general Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Republican candidate (someone competing for public office) for president and former Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson the Democratic candidate.

Bumper stickers probably don’t convince (make someone believe or do something) people to vote for one candidate or the other. But they help create awareness (knowledge about something). And they allow people to express (show) their support for candidates and ideas.

Most political bumper stickers are simple. Some have only the candidate’s name. Others say “Vote for Obama” or “Romney for President”.

Some bumper stickers – like “Democracy is not a spectator (for watching) sport”, “Ignore (don’t pay attention to) your rights (freedoms) and they’ll go away”, and “If you don’t vote, don’t complain” – remind people that voting is important.

Bumper stickers even appear after elections. Someone whose party (Republicans or Democrats) won may put “I voted Republican” or “I voted for Obama” on their car. If their party or candidate didn’t win, they may put something like “Next time … think before you vote!” or “Don’t blame me. I voted for the other guy.”

Since bumper stickers are so small, it’s difficult to say much about important ideas. Occasionally, however, someone tries. This one – “Taxed Enough Already” – accomplishes two things. First, it complains about too many taxes. Second, it identifies with (shows relationship to) the Tea Party, a group of conservative (usually, someone who doesn’t like change) Republicans who take their name from the time early American patriots (someone who loves their country and is willing to defend it) threw British tea into Boston Harbor to protest taxes. In history books it’s called the “Boston Tea Party.”

Some of the best, in my opinion, are those that mix humor and political talk. “Confuse a conservative. Use logic and facts” does that. So does “I’d vote Republican, but I’m allergic to (get sick if you eat or touch something) nuts (food/crazy people).”

One driver, who may not think much of (like) politicians, had a bumper sticker that used a popular line from American writer and humorist (someone who tells funny stories) Mark Twain – “Politicians, like diapers (soft cloths put on babies to keep them dry and clean), should be changed often. And for the same reason.” Another, apparently from a Republican who doesn’t like the choices he has, says “Republicans for Voldemort.” Voldemort, as you may remember, is known as the Dark Lord in the Harry Potter books and is Harry’s enemy (someone who wants to hurt you).

The number of bumper stickers seems to have declined (gotten smaller), probably because of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. I hope they never disappear; if they did, what would I have to read while waiting for the stoplight to turn green?

~ Warren Ediger – ESL coach and tutor and creator of the Successful English website.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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8 Responses to It’s Bumper Sticker Time!

  1. Dan says:

    Hello Warren.

    Hey don’t you drive and look at your phone everyone else?
    Well, if you don’t do that don’t worry soon there will be self-driving cars so that you can read entire books. 🙂

    No seriously, strangely, amongst all the things we have assimilated in our culture from the US, bumper stickers haven’t crossed the ocean.
    Over here it’s rare to see those. Sometimes you can see some of the most popular radios, but definitely not political stuff.

    Something quite popular, more in the past maybe is to have a rosary attached to the rear view mirror.
    Or, again a hat on the back.

    I have NEVER done anything like that. I am not superstitious, you know.


  2. Dan says:

    Hi me again.

    I also like the idea of funny stickers.
    Especially when you are stuck in the traffic and bored/nervous/angry.
    You see something unexpected that makes you laugh. I like that.
    Personally, while driving I always listen to the radio.

    Hahahaha the diaper one is good.
    Now I am going to do a Google search and look for the crazy ones.


  3. Dan says:

    Lol there are so many.
    Unfortunately the majority are unrepeatable here.
    One of my favorite since here many have that one that says “baby on board”
    is the one that reads ” no baby on board” and then underneath “durex”.

    Another one hilarious is the one that says “be nice with fat people they can save your life” and you see a bear running after two people.
    The skinnier one is ahead and the fat one is closer to the bear. Lol


  4. Pete says:

    Hi Warren ,

    Kudos on timely post.
    Bumper sticker are cheap.they don’t cost much. However , they could be way more effective of the most extravaganza marketing campaign strategy out there.
    Wondering why ?
    Well ,speaking personally ,They can effortlessly reach to a large number of people as the cars bearing political stickers typically run around the city.
    So ,They have potential to teach to a large number people at any given time specially behind stop signs or red traffic lights. As people typically find them the best pastime as they are waiting for the light to turn green.
    U know ,most of speakers are funny by nature. So people tend to pay attention to then specially when they are stuck in notorious bumper to bumper traffic in major US megacities like to name a few : NewYork,and LA.

    So they are very strong campaigns tools for increasing political awareness and a cheerful way by which people support their Favourite political party and encourage people to the polls.

    Let me add here that Canadians are not stranger to bumper stickers. People use them here as well.
    Let me tell u mates ,around here people view them entertaining as the number of time u stop behind traffic lights in a given road is ridiculously high.
    I m telling you guys , there is a traffic light set up in every single minor and major intersections up here in Toronto. Trust me people. I m not exaggerating for effect. Literally , u have to stop at least 3 or 4 minutes in every each one
    Of intersections across the city for the damn traffic light to turn green.
    And ,don’t get me started on the number of stop signs in every single back street.
    Man , they are killers.

    A learning guide member


  5. Dan says:

    Hi everyone

    Yesterday there was a funny picture on my Twitter feed.
    It was a Sanders’s yard sign that someone had cut out in the middle and replaced it with a handwritten note reading..

    “I took half of your sign because you had one
    and I didn’t. I am sure you understand.”…LoL.

  6. Dan says:

    I was going through the various bumper stickers of Trump, Clinton, Cruz, Rubio…I have noticed that the common theme is the colors blue and red.
    I guess that is from the US’ flag.

    The once about guns are also funny.


  7. Dan says:

    I would never ^stain^ my car with a political sticker.
    Besides, you don want your car to be scratched by some nut case
    just because you have the ^wrong^ sticker.

    I once had a NPR sticker just because at the time I was a listener
    and donated at NPR Berlin and they sent me their logo sticker.
    I used it forac while but now I do not listen to them anymore.

    Thanks and have a good weekend everyone.

  8. rafsoc says:

    A personalized license plate in California is not a sticker itself?
    Some of them are so funny.
    A kiss from Italy

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