Across the back bumper of the vehicle parked just in front of me were numerous stickers. I have a thing against bumper stickers. It is seldom that I see one I like. I smile every time I remember the person who said that he pulled in behind a car bearing the sticker which proclaimed, "Honk if you love Jesus." He pressed rather forcefully on his horn and then watched as the driver of the sticker-bearing car turned and gave him the finger. Bumper stickers, by their very brevity of space, try to reduce complexities into simplistic notions.
Among the stickers was one that caught my attention immediately. It read: ANNOY A LIBERAL. WORK. SUCCEED. BE HAPPY. Well, that one spoke to me. By my long-time admission, I am a liberal. Unapologetically so. I did not come to this position quickly or easily. It evolved over a good period of time and after careful examination of self and surroundings. I will also be the first to admit that contemporary liberalism can be like a piece of swiss cheese...riddled with gaps and holes. Just like contemporary conservatism. Neither posture is a know-all, end-all.
The statement produced immediate annoyance inside me. But not for the reason given. You see, I want people to work. I get annoyed when people don't work, especially when they are capable and choose not to, for whatever reason. I also know that there are some who ache to work, but again, for different reasons, are just not able, at least not in any way that is fulfilling and life-sustaining. I want people to succeed. Yes, some folk want to be carried, believing, mistakenly, that the world owes them a living. The national self-esteem has hit the skids because so many have fallen short of set goals, cannot seem to recover, and just give up. And yes,I want most of all for people to be happy. At present, we seem to be an unhappy lot. Again, some will whine and complain, because it is just the way they have learned to survive. But others are not happy because they just cannot pull it out of their brokenness. If I had walked their journey, I doubt that I would be happy either.
I have met a few people who are just downright lazy, unmotivated, and sour. But they are very, very few. When I take time to listen to folk, pull together the pieces of their story, and reflect on their experience, I understand why so many are as they are. My guess is that if I got to know the person whose vehicle bore what I considered a ridiculous bumper sticker, I might better understand why it was placed there.