I have to admire the hard works of these folk who have created 52 bumper stickers for Sen. Barack Obama. That’s one for each state plus one for D.C. and Puerto Rico, if you are doing the math. Not all are great, but there is obvious evidence of some good creativity going on. Arizona’s bumper sticker made me laugh — “Re-elect Senator John McCain 2008.” That’s clever.

The title of their page is reminiscent of the Paul Simon song of days gone by. It say, “There Must Be…. 50 Fifty-Two Ways to Vote Obama!” I don’t know what your initial thoughts are, but mine were simple. “Only 52 ways? Just work with ACORN, and you can vote as many times as you want!”

We went to the local farmer’s market on Saturday, and bought some yummy cherries at $3.33 a pound. That’s a steal for Rainier cherries–yum! While we were there we noticed an older gentleman with a satchel over his shoulder. A placard attached to the satchel read: “PENTAGON IS EVIL.” My wife said, in a voice deliberately loud enough to be heard, “Jeez, some people don’t have anything better to do.” I was more discreet as I whispered to my wife, “He doesn’t like five-sided shapes!” I don’t think he would have gotten it if I had stood there with placards reading “SQUARE IS GOOD” or “TRIANGLE IS AMBIVALENT.”

I find it strange to use the locale of a farmer’s market to peddle one’s political point. Perhaps he was prepared to pass out pamphlets pulled from his pouch. OK, enough alliteration, but why would someone think that a public gathering like a market is the proper venue to vent one’s spleen on divisive issues? I love a good debate; however, people who stand around with large placards are not generally willing to discuss the issue in a rational manner. Their vehicle of expression is usually to shout, rant and automatically disagree with anything that is said. And as Monty Python pointed out:

Argument Clinic

M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
A: It can be.
M: No it can’t. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
A: No it isn’t.
M: Yes it is! It’s not just contradiction.
A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
M: Yes, but that’s not just saying ‘No it isn’t.’
A: Yes it is!
M: No it isn’t!

Unfortunately, the level of political debate these days is too often more along the lines of simple contradiction, veering dangerously close to getting-hit-on-the-head lessons. Did that man at the market really want a serious discussion of the issue? Is there anything I could have explained or pointed out that would have changed his mind about the Pentagon being evil? I don’t think so. I suspect he had already made up his mind and nothing could shift him. Now I don’t have trouble with people who have a firm conviction of their beliefs, but I do have trouble with people who, once they’ve made up their minds on a political subject, refuse to acknowledge any evidence that they could be wrong.

Incidentally, whenever there is a public gathering, why is it that the most common placards and opinions to be seen express leftist sentiment? Other than people at ball games with “Go Team” and “John 3:16″ quotes, when you see people holding up signs or plastering bumper stickers to their cars, they’re almost always leftist slogans. Maybe it’s just that I live in a very blue state, but I don’t think so. Back when I lived in a very red state, the right-wing political bumper stickers I saw were almost always limited to two per car: one for a specific political candidate, one for a pro-life sentiment. And they were discreet. Even in this red state, when I came across a car sporting leftist political bumper stickers, they were usually in-your-face and all-over-the-place–cars held together with multiple slogans like “Somewhere in Texas there’s a village missing an idiot,” “Where are the WMDs?”, “Frodo has failed! Bush has the ring!”, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam. In any case, what I sense from the plethora of bumper stickers is not a willingness for rational debate, but a shouting match. You don’t get rational thought or reasoned argument from a bumper sticker; it’s the printed equivalent of a shouted slogan. I don’t see there being much opportunity for discussion; all you get is the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

I find very little debate on issues and ideas coming from the American left. If you watch the talking-head shows on TV where there are two pundits discussing a liberal vs. conservative theme, notice how often the liberal interrupts, talks over or shouts down the conservative whenever he or she is speaking. It’s an easy tactic to deny one’s opponent the ability to express a thought by shouting that person down. I’ve suggested elsewhere that the political left doesn’t really believe in freedom of speech for everyone. Based on their actions, I believe that they want freedom of speech for themselves and the force of law to shut up everyone else who takes a contrary position. How much longer will it be before leftist “discourse” becomes outright getting-hit-on-the-head lessons for conservatives?

Argument Clinic

I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that speaks volumes in just three lines. The problem is that one word turns the whole bumper sticker into a pile of peacenik propaganda and not something I could support. Here’s a quick HTML rendition of the bumper sticker:

HONOR THE DEAD
HEAL THE WOUNDED
END THE WAR

I certainly believe in honoring our dead, particularly our military dead. As our national anthem says, they stood “Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.” And we are forever in their debt for their ultimate sacrifice. I certainly cannot argue with the call to honor our dead.

And I certainly believe in healing our wounded. Since our military men and women have placed themselves in harm’s way for us, we as a nation have the responsibility to heal them when they are wounded. Shoddy care for our wounded is a stain on our nation’s honor, and it is a stain on our government’s honor, both on the elected representatives and the faceless bureaucrats who manage our military’s care centers. And it is not acceptable. If I were President, I would submit a budget to Congress that placed a higher priority on taking care of the health of our military.

But it is the last sentence that twists the previous valid statements into craptastic peacenik propaganda. Notice that it says “END the war,” not “WIN the war.” It’s a trivial task to end any war if you’re willing to run away from the fight. If we were to run away from Iraq, *poof* the war would be over, and these useful idiots could link their arms and sing “Kumbaya” in onanistic joy.

Morons.

Contrary to what the bumpersticker crowd would have you believe, merely ending the war will not result in lasting peace. Only winning a war results in peace. I explained how this works a year ago:

Peace comes through winning the war and making the loser beg to sit at the negotiation table. Peace does not come from going to the negotiation table and signing some documents, unless the war has already been fought and won. Don’t believe me? In an attempt to appease the Germans, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain sat down at the negotiation table with Hitler, but there was no peace. Germany annexed the Sudetenland that same year, invaded Poland the next, and invaded the rest of Europe by 1940. That was no peace. But after Japan signed the terms of surrender on the USS Missouri, there was peace between the U.S. and Japan for more than 60 years.

I’ll take real and lasting peace through victory any time.

I want peace. Peace is preferable to war, but as long as there are zealous Islamic nutjobs willing to kill men, women, and children to further their goals of a world-wide Islamic state, we will not have peace. We may have brief lulls between fighting, but we will not have peace.

While I don’t put bumper stickers on my car, and I doubt I ever will, the following is a bumper sticker that I could agree with 100%:

HONOR THE DEAD
HEAL THE WOUNDED
WIN THE WAR

If you have done any driving in a city, you have seen a bumper sticker on the car in front of you. I like driving behind the cars plastered with lots of stickers. With just a little bit of reading, you can figure out the driver’s stance on current events, politics, environment, religion and business. The following are eight bumper stickers I have seen in my current neck of the woods and my response to them.

I’m too poor to vote Republican

Ah, yes, the old “rich Republican” meme. But if you look at the major movers and shakers from the last election, you’d find billionaire George Soros leading the Democrat side and forking out $26 million to pull President Bush out of the Oval Office. That ain’t chump change from a minimum wage worker, folks. If you look at how much money was contributed to the two main parties, you’d see that the Republicans were successful in raising more money than their Democrat rivals. Well, no duh, Republican = rich, right? Actually, no. In a yearly report on the 50 richest people in Congress, Democrats average $55.6 million each, while Republicans come in at $34.8 million each. As for contributions, the top five contributors to the Republican party gave just slightly under $4 million total, while the top five for the Democrats totaled up more than $46 million combined. But the Democrats are the party of the little people. Yeah, right.

Kerry / Edwards

Look–they lost. When you drive around with a Kerry / Edwards sticker (or worse, a Gore / Lieberman sticker) you are proclaiming that you voted for the loser. And while Americans do like underdogs, we aren’t all that fond of losers. We can leave loving the world’s losers (and Jerry Lewis) to the French. It’s time for both the Bush and Kerry stickers to come off. Whether your candidate won or lost, at this point it’s time to recognize that we are all Americans. It’s time that we moveon.org past our differences.

Frodo has failed! Bush has the ring!

OK, this one is funny in a geeky sort of way. Doesn’t really make sense if you realize that President Bush has to fight for his plans, but it is still funny.

Power to the Peaceful

Peace is wonderful. Who doesn’t want peace? I have heard some people say that the military is a band of bloodthirsty warmongers, and they are always longing for war. Having grown up in the home of an Air Force fighter pilot, I can tell you that my dad certainly didn’t long for war, nor did any of the other servicemen and women I met. They knew very well just what their weapons would do to people and places. They trained for war so they could place themselves, as a certain old song puts it, “between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation.” They do this because they understand that peace has a price. A very strong, highly-trained military is the greatest instrument in the cause of peace that this nation will ever have. Certain people and nations will be quick to take away our peace if they view us as weak. So power to the peacemakers–the U.S. military!

No Violence / Know Peace

This is similar to the preceding bumper sticker in its misguided theme. We have peace here in the United States because we can threaten thugs with violence. We know that the September 11 plans were drawn up precisely because those thugs viewed the U.S. as weak. The peace we have enjoyed here in the States since that bright blue day in 2001 has been purchased with blood shed by the members of the American armed forces.

It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need, and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.

This one has been around for a long time. The Constitution gives the Federal government the responsibility for national defense, but it does not grant any responsibility for education. The 9th and 10th Amendments mean that education is the responsibility of the people and the individual States, but that hasn’t stopped the Federal government from appropriating this power to itself. But regardless of whether this is a role of the Federal government, there is an unasked question: at what dollar amount would a school be “fully funded”? At this point, Washington D.C. spends in the top three of the nation with over $11,000 per student in K-12, but its graduation rate is in the bottom third. Obviously, just throwing more money at the problem isn’t the solution. Jim Quinn has suggested a way of ending this “fully funded” myth: find out what the States say they need per student to be “fully funded,” and give them that amount for the next five years. If the resulting test scores, graduations, and overall numbers don’t show a massive increase, then the problem isn’t money–it is the way that money is administered.

Think. It’s patriotic.

The unspoken part of this statement is that if you don’t agree with the driver’s mode of thought, you have obviously failed to think. It may come as a shock for some people to realize that an intelligent person can look at exactly the same raw data as they did, and come to a completely different conclusion. I do agree that being thoughtful and engaged in current events makes one a better American, but I’m guessing that’s not what the owner of this bumper sticker meant. I read this as, “Think as I do. It’s patriotic.”

Celebrate Diversity

I would guess that diversity is one of the top three rallying cries of the Marxist Left. The problem is that they never bother to explain what they mean by “diversity.” As I see it, liberals want diversity of skin, gender, and methods by which Tab A can be fit into Slot B, but they don’t support diversity of thought. If the Left lumps you into a particular group, you had better think and speak the way the liberals think you should. This is why the Marxist Left will call people like Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom” and Secretary Condoleezza Rice an “Oreo.” I found a great example of the liberal notion of celebrating diversity over at the Coyote Blog.

Fortunately, hat tip to James Taranto, the diversity term is clarified on the web site of an Oregon lodge. The page begins:

WE WELCOME DIVERSITY
Respecting the interdependence & diversity of all life.

Helpfully, they clarify what they mean by diversity a bit down the page:

No Smokers…No Pets…No Visitors…No Hummers, No RVs, No Bush Voters (due to his environmental destructive policies.)

Oh, and in the spirit of good customer service: no refunds for cancellations.

Since the Ocean Haven webpage and its strangled view of diversity was passed around and snickered at by numerous people on the Internet and talk shows, the website was updated last week. It now says that Ocean Haven respects the “diversity of all nature loving species.” The text about No Bush Voters is missing, but dislike of automobile diversity is still present.

Yep, that’s diversity for you. And this is the level of logical thinking you get when you resort to bumper sticker politics.