I came to a stop light yesterday in Cumberland Gap and noticed a bumper sticker on the car in front of me. It had one word with large multi-colored letters. The "word" was "ERACISM." Eracism. One of those twists that gives you pause. You think, eracism. Eracism. Hmm. Oh, I get it. Erase racism. OK.
Then the light above turned green and the silver-haired woman in the Toyota drove on.
But I kept thinking about the experience I had just had. Not about ending racism. To me, that is taking care of itself - over time. It's that I have no idea what her intention was in slapping that sticker on her car. I believe the tiny words underneath said, "Universalist Unitarian Church," which says something in itself. It is to this church that all the 60's hippies migrated in subsequent years. Upon what do they base their church beliefs? Peace. Love. Humanity. Togetherness. Inclusion. "If it feels good, and there is love in your heart, do it - no matter if the person you're doing it to is adult, male, female, consenting, or even a human being for that matter. I don't remember God - or Jesus - playing a part in their foundational beliefs but I could have overlooked Him in my extensive readings on the subject.
But I digress.
What was the old lady's intention? To get the rest of us to change our ways? Probably. And she is probably one of the elitists on the left who think a bumper sticker will do it. "Eracism? Oh, I never heard it put that way. From this point on, I'm going to love my fellow black man, Latino woman, ..."
But I was made aware of another bumper sticker the other day the motivation behind which runs in a different direction. My daughter called me in semi-amusement and startled amazement at something she had just read on the back of a pickup truck right here in Bland, Virginia. Beneath a confederate flag sticker was another that read, "WORK: It's The White Thing To Do."
Now I know you can find this sort of sentiment up in Brooklyn or out in Los Angeles. Shoot, we know it is the prevailing attitude in certain Democratic circles in Washington D.C. But around these parts, there is an ugliness that accompanies the hatred. These people have not given up. To them, the civil rights battles that took place in the 60's are still underway. And they soldier on.
Reality - and the turn of a new century - be damned.
So I have a thought. What would happen if I got the old silver-haired hippie who is still living in the sixties together with the Bland County racist who is still living in the sixties and locked them in a room over at the Motel 6? What would come of it?
I already know. If I could lock them both in, and throw away the room key, America would be better off for it. And the demise of racism would accelerate.
Without the need for another bumper sticker.