Where Have All the Bumper Stickers Gone?
Amy Sterling Casil
8429

Intrigued by your title! I too have been struck by the scarcity of bumper stickers, even in Berkeley, CA, where cars were once covered in them.

Unfortunately, after the interesting title and topic, your post wandered all over the place in some kind of post-Bernie hangover. I believe you tried to say that there are only Bernie stickers around because only Berners have pride in their candidate — and you even dance around the idea that the vote in California was “rigged” because of a lack of bumper stickers for Hillary. AMIRITE? Come on- that half-assed magical thinking has been debunked and does nothing to further the revolution.

The first article I read about this, completely debunking the concept that a lack of visible enthusiasm equals lack of candidate pride and support, came right after Hillary won New York, having swept Brooklyn. Apparently, everyone assumed Bernie would win big in Brooklyn and there were signs of Bernie support quite visible, but none for Hillary. Turned out that HRC supporters were legion in Brooklyn, but did not want to be harassed by Berners. They just kept quiet and voted, and they didn’t vote for Bernie. There are also many reports of Hillary voters on college campuses terrified to speak out or support Hillary because of the harassment they got.

I live in Berkeley, California and I’m not shy. My house, car, and clothing have been covered with Hillary stickers, emblems and signs since she announced her run officially. For my sins, I have been sneered at by Berners in coffee shops and flower nurseries, lectured while sitting on my doorstep, and condescended to in the Whole Foods parking lot. I’ve been fat shamed and scorned and mansplained to, as though I just fell off the turnip truck, or as though I’m member of the young Republicans. I’m not, I’m a life-long, second-generation San Francisco pragmatic progressive liberal Democrat — now a grandmother and well over 50- clean out of F___ to give. I have followed and appreciated Hillary Clinton’s career since the early 90’s. I worked in domestic Federal programs and studied policy in a field where Hillary has been well known for her proactive progressivism.

Hillary voters are everywhere but not all of us are willing to risk abuse to put on a bumper sticker. During the period leading up to the California primary, dozens of women quietly signaled support to me in my Hillary hat. Many openly thanked me for being open in my support of Hillary because it helped them. One and all told me they were too afraid of mean Neo-Progressives in our town to wear their Hillary hearts on their sleeve, especially on their car.

One woman said she was afraid of aggressive drivers on the road if she had a sticker, but she has 6 foot signs on the side of her house. So, you see, we don’t lack pride in our candidate, we fear intolerance. In most of California, it wasn’t intolerance from the AltRight that intimidated us.

One woman who uses a wheelchair told me there is no way she could put a sticker on her wheelchair because she’s already vulnerable, “why would I make myself a target?” she asked.

A senior citizen from El Cerrito had two Hillary signs stolen out of his yard before he gave up. The sign poachers left letters in his mailbox telling him that his daughter would be sent off to war and killed because of his support for a ‘warmonger’.

I guess it turns out that free speech in Berkeley is limited to certain viewpoints, all others get piled upon.

You’re right, there are few bumper stickers on the road these days, but your loosely framed explanations are suspect.

Driving around the Bay Area sometimes I’m the only car with stickers, apart from a few Raiders or Giants fans. But it’s not for lack of Hillary pride. It’s votes, not rallies or bumper stickers, that count in a democracy.

I just put a new Hillary sticker on my ’98 Saturn yesterday. Right next to my Grateful Dead sticker and one that says “Live and Let Live”.

By the way, Raffi’s a Canadian. I love his music for children, but he can stay the F___ out of our politics.