Thursday, September 16, 2004

Proud to Be American

This bumper sticker was staring me in the face for a few minutes on the road today. It also had a picture of the head of a bald eagle.
Bumper stickers are not meant to be dissected. They are meant to raise high emotions and to make the reader feel either good or bad. But I prefer dissecting.

It might go something like this: "Proud to be American. Instead of what? German? Norwegian?" What's so bad about being German or Norwegian? And why tell everybody in America that you are proud to be the same as everybody else driving on that road (with the exception of a few stray goddesses)?

And what makes one so proud about the verb "to be"? Everybody born in this country automatically becomes an American. Only those who change their nationality have some right to boast about the verb "to be".

And what does the bald eagle have to do with any of this? Or is it supposed to be the eagle who says the sentence? If so, the eagle is a very weird bird indeed, given that we nearly brought it to extinction.

And finally, why the emphasis on pride? Why would it be something that needs to be stressed? Self-confidence in my experience doesn't need to go out and boast about its achievements (goddesses are an exception to this rule, naughty you).

I'd have more data to work on if I could tell when the bumber sticker was glued on the car. It looks too new to have been there very long, however, so I doubt that this sticker was part of the 9/11 events. It might be a response to the Iraq war, stating that the driver is proud of Bush's war and telling the shameful anti-war people to shut up. But this is probably not a warranted conclusion. Most likely it's just meant to provide a small moment of patriotic pride in the day of busy commuters. Which is fine with me; only I wish that the bumper sticker makers would think a bit more carefully before they scribble something down.