The Arrival of a Bumper Sticker

Some thoughts on receiving a pair of political bumper stickers from an anonymous sender.

I got a long envelope in the mail yesterday from a company called FahrenheitStuff.com. When I opened it, I found two black, red, and white bumper stickers that said: “Fahrenheit 9/11, See the movie..then decide.”There was no indication of who had sent them.

Bumper StickerI went to the Web site and learned that FahrenheitStuff.com sells bumper stickers and tee shirts with all proceeds going to MoveOnPac.org. MoveOnPac.org, I learned, is dedicated to getting voters to vote George W. Bush out of office. To that end, they have a number of political advertisements that you can view via the Web. I watched all of them. One, “Stranded Republicans,” was very good. Another, “Everyone,” was very moving. The others were so-so. Since I don’t watch much TV, I don’t know if any of these ads have actually aired. FahrenheitStuff.com claims it is not affiliated with or endorsed by Michael Moore or MoveOnPac.org. The bumper stickers were of good quality and quite attractive. The colors went well with my red Honda. So, just to stir up some local emotions in this Arizona Republican stronghold town, I put one on my car. Yes, I put it on the glass back window; after all, I will eventually need to remove it. And if people start throwing eggs, I can always drive around town with the top down so no one sees it.

The shirts were nice, too. 100% cotton Hanes tee shirts with three different Fahrenheit 9/11 slogans on them. They were only $7.99. The bumper stickers were only $1 each. I’m thinking the shirts might make a good collector’s item in about 20 years. I might buy one and store it with my Mac OS 8 tee shirts. Someday, they’ll hit eBay.

Well, while I was surfing to find out about FahrenheitStuff.com and MoveOnPac.org, I visited Michael Moore’s Web site. I read a lot of interesting articles there. He didn’t write them. He just echoed them from other sources. It appears the Michigan Republicans are out to get him because he’s “bribing students to vote.” Frankly, I think it’s admirable that someone is making an effort to get young people involved in the political decision-making process. Of course, his efforts do have an ulterior motive. He obviously believes that the majority of these young people will vote against George W Bush. I think they will, too. And I hope they vote.

I realized, in reading Moore’s Web pages, that he and I have a lot in common. We have the same basic political opinion. Like me, he doesn’t think that Kerry is the best candidate for president. But he also doesn’t think we should give Bush another 4 years. Like me, he believes in exercising his First Amendment rights to speak his mind about the things he feels strongly about. But while he does it in movie theaters, in public speaking gigs (for which is often paid), in interviews, and on his Web site, I do it on my Web site and blogs and in letters to our sorry (and politically unbalanced) little local newspaper. While he’s tackling topics on the national and international level, with well-researched and presented commentary, I’m just presenting my opinion, based on my own intelligence and knowledge of the things going on around me. And like me, he has made a number of enemies due to his outspokenness, although he has millions of them and I only have a handful of people I wouldn’t want as friends anyway.

After surfing Moore’s site, I went to Amazon.com to look up information about his new book, “The Fahrenheit 9/11 Reader.” It sounds like a rehash of the movie, with a bunch of commentary in it. I don’t think it’s worth reading, at least not right now when I have so many other things I want to read. But I also learned that someone wrote a book called “Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man.” Wow. I might have to agree with that sentiment, but remove the word “Stupid.” He certainly isn’t that. But I do think it’s funny that an author (and publisher) would cash in on the fact that so many people hate Michael Moore. Who’s stupid now? It appears that the buyers of this book (and perhaps Moore’s book, to be fair) are being used to generate profits for authors and publishers who are selling to emotions. Perhaps these books look good on coffee tables in homes of Republicans or Democrats. A kind of label to let people know where you stand politically.

While surfing Amazon.com, I found a book that I think I’m going to buy (or at least look for in my local library). It’s called “Seven Floors High” and it appears to be a novel based on fact. (The description is too vague to make it clear whether it’s fact or fiction.) What really struck me is the reviews: every single reviewer gave it 5 stars. Most of them said they “couldn’t put it down.” I need to read something like that. Of course, I found the book through a link to “The Fahrenheit 9/11 Reader,” and it’s quite clear that it doesn’t make George W Bush look very good. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

I also found an enormous number of political books for sale. Some are “patriotic” titles that are obviously written to praise the current president. Others are titles by (or with information from) people in the know, such as John Dean and Paul O’Neill. The summaries of these books make them sound like interesting (but scary) reading. They seem to confirm what I already suspect: that there’s more going on in the White House than what meets the public’s eye.

Anyway, speaking of patriotic, I do have one more comment to make regarding Michael Moore. Moore-haters claim he’s unpatriotic. (By the way, that’s the same claim made by our president and his supporters when we question the removal of our rights to privacy, free speech, and due process.) I don’t think he’s unpatriotic at all. I think he sees the big picture and has formed an opinion about it. The opinion is not favorable to our current president and his party. I think he loves America very much — and that’s why he’s willing to speak out. I think it’s his way of getting other people to see the big picture and make an informed opinion about it. Informed using all of the facts, not the claims made by the republican party and its candidates.

Again, this is a lot like me. People think I hate Wickenburg because I speak out when I see something I think is bad or wrong. But I don’t hate Wickenburg. I don’t want to hate it, either. I want everyone to see what’s going on out there. I want them to make their own opinions and do something about it.

The sad thing about America these days is that the average person would rather watch the latest reality TV show than spend time and effort researching the issues that affect their lives and voting based on their own opinions about those issues.

And there is a postscript to this story: I found out who sent me the bumper stickers when I got a message from the sender in this morning’s e-mail.

What do you think?