Last night we went over to my colleagues’ apartment for a bibimbap party celebrating our imminent departure to Korea. What’s bibimbap? It’s a Korean dish featuring a potpourri of vegetables (meat optional) over rice with sesame seed oil and red pepper paste. I uploaded a couple photos of bibimbap to the photos section. My colleague’s mother prepared all the ingredients. It really whet my appetite for Korean food. Lately I’ve abstained from eating Korean food because I know we’re going to eat a heckuva lot while we’re in Seoul. Our friends hosted a lovely party featuring bibimbap, seaweed soup, wine, and dessert. They even printed up a nice menu for us! The dinner was absolute delicious. It was much better than other get togethers we’ve had at local places such as Rock Bottom Brewery. I’m grateful for their hospitality.
This morning I saw an interesting sight. I saw a Toyota Prius hybrid driving in the right lane, and right behind it I saw a Mercedes SUV. While that was not unusual, what was ironic to me were the bumper stickers they each sported prominently on the back of their cars. (It’s one of those moments when you wish you had a digital camera handy to take a quick photo to capture the memory.) The Prius featured a "Kerry-Edwards" bumper sticker, and the Mercedes had a "W" George W. Bush campaign sticker. I couldn’t help but catch a look at the cars’ inhabitants. While I won’t go into detail on their physical features, I will say that it was very obvious from their appearance and attire what political party they supported. You really are what you drive, I guess! I would not have thought about their political leanings until I read their bumper stickers. They invited me to think about it when they affixed those stickers. A Prius is an environmentally-friendly vehicle with great gas mileage, while a Mercedes signifies affluency. (I drive neither.) I wonder sometimes why people leave campaign bumper stickers on their cars long after elections. There’s still a noticeable number of "Kerry-Edwards" plastered on the backs of cars driving around Northern Virginia (and "W" stickers too, although not as many–the D.C. area is not "Bush" country). I think many people are leaving them on their cars as a way to quietly protest the election result. I still occasionally see Gore-Lieberman and other old campaign bumper stickers on cars driving around town. I even saw a Reagan bumper sticker a few months ago. Come on. There comes a time when it’s time to scrape the bumper stickers off, I think, especially when they become faded or tattered. And I wonder sometimes why people put more than 10 bumper stickers on their cars. There’s a car parked in our apartment complex with perhaps 40 different bumper stickers plastered on the back and sides of the car, very obvious demonstrating what political affiliation the driver is. There are stickers even plastered on the cars’ windows, something I think might be a bit dangerous because they create blind spots for the driver. As for me, I try not to advertise my own beliefs on my vehicle. I believe that Americans put entirely too many bumper stickers on their cars. When you travel abroad or even go to Canada you don’t see nearly as many on vehicles as you do in the U.S. It may be that Americans take politics too serious and do their best to assert their own beliefs or convert others to their own beliefs. I wish people on both the Left and Right would temper their political views. The recent presidential election was particularly decisive and blood pressure on both sides was very high. I just hope they cool down…and put away the bumper stickers until the next election campaign.
Note: The writer is not related to 2004 Vice-Presidential Nominee John Edwards.