Do you have any bumper stickers or magnets on your car? Perhaps an emblem of your favorite sports team, your child’s school or your alma mater? An American flag? Or one of those trendy oval black-and-white, initialed stickers from your favorite vacation spot? Or do you prefer to wear your political beliefs on your bumper?
I’m just glad we live in a country where we’re free to express ourselves without persecution. I appreciate the price we pay for these freedoms. I am happy to be living in the United States and consider myself patriotic.
But you wouldn’t know it from some reactions I get to the one embellishment I have on my car.
It’s a peace symbol.
My husband has a theory that I was stopped and treated rudely by that North Carolina trooper back in April because my peace sign provoked him. Since then I have noticed dirty looks from strangers. Then recently someone very close to me made a comment implying that my magnet was unpatriotic—that it runs counter to supporting our troops.
Am I being naïve or do some people actually consider the peace sign offensive? Is peace not something we all desire for our nation and our world? Or do some Americans perceive it as symbol of military surrender or un-Americanism?
I placed this magnet on my car for two reasons.
First, it was made by a company that promotes positive images in communities and schools and donates part of its proceeds to world hunger relief. With the bumper sticker sphere becoming so mean spirited these days, I thought a nice, happy, peace-ful image would be a refreshing change.
Second, if I had one simple message to convey from my rear bumper, it would be “peace.” Inner peace, world peace, peace within families. Peace on earth, good will toward men.
My peace sign is not intended to make a political statement.
Do I wish our country were not at war? Yes. Do the parents of our fallen wish for peace? I don’t know. I’d like to think so. Do I wish there were peace in the Middle East and in the Sudan and in Congo? Very much so. Do I display my peace sign as a message that the United States should wave the white flag all over the world? Heavens, no.
Are there patriotic Americans who do not wish for peace? I am starting to wonder.
For now, until someone beats me up over it, or convinces me how it is offensive, I’ll leave my little magnet right where it is.