Within the past 30 years my wife and I have lived in five states and many homes, but recently we have been faced with examples of political polarization that have us concerned and scared.
The first incident occurred while waiting at a stop light. A man in a truck next to us started screaming and banging on his door to get our attention. We had our windows up and at first thought there was something wrong with our car. Then we both read his lips and heard the word, “Obamacare.” We eventually realized he was incensed over our Obama/Biden bumper sticker.
Incident No. 2 happened a few days later on a six lane road. The man in the car next to us started honking his horn, waving a vulgar hand gesture, and screaming something negative about President Obama. We were immediately aware that it was the bumper sticker once again.
And finally, incident No. 3 — the really scary one. My wife went shopping at a local store and when she returned to her car, the one with the Obama/Biden bumper sticker, she found a hand printed note with the following message on her windshield. “Hi Friend, I just wanted to let you know that some knucklehead vandalized your car by slapping an Obama sticker on it. The last thing you want is to be driving around all day looking like an idiot. Take care, a good samaritan.” My wife was afraid. I was working out of state at that time and she was concerned that this person might follow her home, do harm, vandalize the car, etc.
Is our nation so polarized that individuals believe they can infringe on other people’s freedom of expression? Should we be nervous that a bumper sticker can bring some people to rage? I am almost 70 years old and have never seen anything like this. Has polarization reached the grassroots level? So what do we do? Take the bumper sticker off and give up, or leave it on?
Dave and Dee Bauer