Anyone who knows me knows I love putting up political/Atheist messages up on my car. I usually just print something out in large text and tape it inside my window. It’s free speech and I get a thrill out of doing it.
Currently I have two pro-choice messages up in the back of my window. I really like putting those things up since I live in two areas of the country where I am in the extreme minority. (Politically and religiously) I have to sit and look at all these conservative christian bumper stickers all day, so why not put my counter-views up? A little something to shake people from comfortably thinking that everyone thinks like they do.
But here is the kicker. Part of the thrill I get from putting up my signs comes from fear. Fear that I’m going to be attacked or harassed in some way. Fear that I’m going to come back to my car in a parking lot to find it keyed.
Now this is not just some baseless paranoia. I have been harassed in the past. The first time was when I was 16 and was driven off the road by an angry conservative because I had a sign for the Democratic candidate for governor on my car. That scared the shit out of me. I’ve had “Liberty” “University” students honk angrily and give me the middle finger because of my signs. (How very christian). I’ve come back to my car on several occasions to find little pamphlets trying to save me under my windshield wipers. I’ve even sometimes found angry notes. I remember driving past a church when it was letting out, getting stuck in traffic. Everyone was glaring at me, giving me dirty looks.
That time I sank low into my seat, expecting to be shot at or have a brick thrown through my window at any moment.
Does the fact that I have to fear for my safety by speaking out not tell you something? How many conservatives drive around afraid angry liberals might attack them or shoot them for what is on their car? How many christians are afraid they will get attacked for a plastic magnetic fish?
I see signs that anger me every day, but I don’t honk or flick them off, and I sure as hell wouldn’t attack them. I respect their right to their opinions. I think the fact that I have to fear for my safety tells you something about the people I disagree with. They are willing to harass and sometimes use violence when they are confronted with someone with whom they disagree. It just screams “my position is undefensible, so I’m going to resort to violence and terror….”