Saturday, July 08, 2006

Meditation on a bumper sticker

And, speaking of friends--

Here's a bumper sticker seen yesterday on a parked car in my very liberal town:

Someone's idea, no doubt, of humor, based on the slogan "Friends don't let friends drive drunk."

But it doesn't seem all that funny to me, not by a longshot. Although it's ostensibly being said tongue-in-cheek, there's a certain hardnosed sentiment behind it, one I've encountered way too many times. It's a sentiment that--although espoused by a person who no doubt would identify him/herself as a liberal--embodies the opposite of traditional liberal thought.

What an interesting idea of friendship, that it must march in lockstep, belief matching belief. What an interesting idea of Republicanism; that it's something pernicious and dangerous, something from which friends must be protected. What an interesting idea of voting; that it's something you "let" or "don't let" someone do.

Yes, I know: lighten up, neo, it's just a joke. But jokes take certain forms for certain reasons; underneath, they express serious ideas that drive people. What is this particular idea? At heart, it's one of thought control, intolerance, and demonizing of the opposition.

And now--out I go to be with some friends. And I think I'll "let" them vote however they please.

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