Thursday, November 1, 2012

Humor Me: How bumper stickers could decide the Presidential election

At this point, I’m sure everyone has seen a poll that shows the presidential election will be tighter than spandex. Even a Facebook poll I saw predicts the race as a dead heat, while also reporting that nearly 100 percent of those surveyed are tired of people posting photos of what they’re having for lunch.

Obama or Romney, Romney or Obama – it’s down to the wire. And it’s so close that the election could be decided by a single hot-button issue such as same-sex marriage, birth control or immigration regulation. It all depends on the swing voters, the political experts agree.

But it might also depend on bumper stickers, according to one person who has zero expertise but was recently cut off by a car displaying an “I love my French Bulldog” sticker.

It might seem weird, but at that moment, I didn’t care much for French Bulldogs. I might’ve even had some unpleasant thoughts about France. Now imagine if it was an Obama or Romney bumper sticker.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Makes you think I’m crazy, perhaps. But with this race being so tight, the candidate with the least amount of bumper stickers might have the inside track to the White House.

After all, bumper stickers are not an effective way to spread a message. Not a positive one, anyway, because America’s roadways are not a place of positivity.

When was the last time you felt warm feelings for a driver ahead of you? When was the last time you weren’t upset when someone cut you off? I can’t imagine a driver looking at another and thinking, “Wow, that person in the other lane is a fantastic driver. So safe! So courteous! Truly a joy to share the road with!”

Maybe that does happen occasionally, but probably not without medication. That’s why we hear about road rage and not road rapture. That’s why even the most conscientious drivers are vilified if they are one car ahead of you.

At that frequently repeated moment in our lives, when we are one car behind in the unofficial race to who-knows-where, we are not a receptive audience for the tailgate talk of Mr. or Ms. One Car Ahead.

Your daughter is an honor student at Jones Elementary? Well, I hope she learns to drive better than you!

If you can read this, thank a teacher? Well, I can read your bumper sticker, and it’s because you won’t hit the gas!

Visualize world peace? Here’s a great visual: you getting out of my way!

It’s hard to escape these negative thoughts. We may be civilized; we may be reasonable; we may provide homes for stray animals (even French Bulldogs) and work the line at a soup kitchen. But behind the wheel, we’re stovetop tea kettles ready to scream.

And vote, too.

So listen up, proud endorsers of a particular candidate. No undecided voter will ever be swayed by your bumper sticker if you’re Mr. or Ms. One Car Ahead. They’re more likely to be annoyed by it. They might even sneer at your bumper sticker that says your son or daughter is on the honor roll at some school.

(As a side note, has anyone seen the bumper stickers that say my son or daughter is a “Self Manager” at some school? I guess that’s an honor, but I’ve seen a lot of kids self-manage themselves into some really dumb situations. I think I prefer to have my kids managed by someone with a fully-mature prefrontal cortex.)

Anyway, Mr. or Ms. One Car Ahead is no good for a campaign. Mr. or Ms. One Car Behind, on the other hand, could be a campaign’s secret weapon. So here’s a winning strategy for each campaign as Election Day approaches:

Take your best bumper stickers -- the ones with the catchiest slogans, the most stars and stripes and the boldest red, white and blue -- and stick those on the front bumper of an American-made car. Then hit the streets during peak traffic times and instruct the driver to let everyone merge in front of him or her.

That should get some undecided voters into gear.

You can use the buttons below to share the column on Facebook or Twitter. Click "Follow @humorcolumn" to get a Twitter update for new columns. To get columns by e-mail, type your address in the box under "Receive columns by e-mail" near the top right of this page. Thanks!