Their view: Your bumper stickers won’t save the world

Santiago Lopez

If you drive around Houston, you are likely to spot on the rear windshields, bumpers or elsewhere on the backs of the cars in front of you, tiny testaments to all sorts of things: bumper stickers.

These vehicular adornments are great for showcasing the vehicle owner’s preference in music, presidential candidate or some cause held near and dear to the driver’s heart.

These stickers vary from simple black and white to all colors of the rainbow (and sometimes actual rainbows). Some proclaim a favorite breed of dog or even pride in a son’s outstanding academic achievement in elementary school.

While bumper stickers can be whimsical, funny or simply make a statement, it is hard to notice them while in bumper-to-bumper traffic. After all, if you watch the car in front of you for any period of time, you will spot a small sign affixed to a car stating something or other.

Though many stickers may shed light on world problems – like freeing Tibet or visualizing world peace – some stickers need more than a two-word statement and a colorful background to make one read it and want to do something about the cause represented.

Take one spotted a couple of days ago that stated, “End Racism.” This is a great idea and one that should be embraced given the noted events happening around the country involving ill-placed nooses. But just how exactly does one go about doing so? How does one put those ideas into action and strive toward ending racism? The task is mountainous, and seen under the guise of the bigger picture two simple words are no longer so simple. They are the jumping-off point for much hard work.

Now this sort of conclusion came after much deliberation and reflection, but it did not occur while sitting in the parking lot known as I-10 around 5:30 p.m.

It is easy to dismiss any notion found on a bumper sticker, especially when the driver of the adorned car does not have to state the basis for their belief while cruising down the freeway at 70 miles per hour. Nor does such a person have to justify the solution for the problem to which he or she is drawing attention to by doing something as simple as placing a sticker on a car.

Someone once said, “The world is run only by the people who take the time to show up.” Indeed.

Showing up involves more than having a bumper sticker on your car. If you want to Free Tibet, you had better donate to or join the Free Tibet Campaign. If you want racism to be an antiquated term and ideology, then The World Against Racism Foundation’s Web site would be a good stop with their information about racism and what can be done to combat it.

An educated proponent of any cause is the best advocate. Anyone can lie on a bumper sticker, but it takes a dedicated and driven person to meet up with like-minded individuals to show up and make things happen.

Hearken the words of anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

A bumper sticker cannot affect change, but a person who believes in his or her cause and is willing to act can get things done.

The above column, by Santiago Lopez, appeared in The Daily Cougar (U. Houston) yesterday.