Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Magnetic Ribbons

Originally written Sept. 9, 2005

Firstly, it’s great to be back writing on American soil; home of the free, brave, and readily available internet. Next, raise your hand if you hate all those magnetic ribbons on cars. Alright, now that the hand count is over, is there anything more annoying than these false symbols of patriotism, slogans, and political correctness?
I am all for patriotism, and greatly appreciate the freedom I am given here, but aren’t certain things just gaudy and over the top? Here in the States it’s not enough to just feel strongly about your country, you have to let everyone else possible know your stance on troops, to abortion, to autism, to breast cancer. Is it necessary to reaffirm each of these views to the public eye, on your car no less? Patriotism is something I look at very differently since studying abroad in Ireland last spring. Abroad everyone loves their country and has unrelenting pride. They also don’t need to advertise it, because it is unanimously felt wherever you may land. On the other hand, here in the States vast numbers of people feel it necessary to display their pride and patriotism on their sleeves or their cars, primarily because there is not a better status symbol in America than the good ‘ol automobile.
Does it say one thing if you drive a BMW SUV and not have one of these ribbons? What does it mean if you drive a 1990 Dodge Stratus and have a pink breast cancer magnet near your gas tank? Is it terribly wrong of me that I don’t want to pay $2 for a magnet where the money goes to some marketing genius’ back pocket and not to the cause that it should? Frankly, I think Americans in general just try to hard. We can’t let our actions speak for us. We have to let anyone and everyone know how we feel. This is probably due to the fact we have free speech and are encouraged to speak our minds in any direction we feel fit. Although I would not exchange free speech for anything, I feel like there are much better ways and actions about being heard and seen. In some regards, these potential actions would have a huge effect on the issues that are displayed on our cars.
Instead of proudly displaying that you “support our troops” why not start a conversation about it, or help a local recruiting agency. If we jump in the Way Back machine to 2001 and remember how sales of American flags shot up after 9/11 this is almost the same epidemic. Also, who does not support our troops? Yeah, you may not agree with what is going on in Iraq, but no one in their right mind would say they want to see American troops die in combat, that is simply foolish. The yellow ribbons are more of a political statement and are just redundant. Let me know when you see ribbons saying, “boycott our troops.” Good to be back. Cheers.

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