I was a radical college student disguised as a pastor who abstained from alcohol, tobacco and firearms. As an olfactory activist, my 1970 Opel Kadett’s 2-word bumper sticker protested the sulfuric aroma of our local paper mill: “Tuscaloosa stinks.”
Yesterday I came upon a vehicle with a more wordy decal on its back window: “The pandemic is a hoax;” “Fauci is a fraud;” “Gates is not a doctor;” “The election was stolen;” “Trump is president.” I smiled, remembering Madison, Jefferson and the First Amendment, thinking: “Is this a great country, or what?”
Recalling my youth and musing about vehicular political expression, I did an Internet search for “crippling ideology.” Among the first of the 9,520,000 “hits” was “Crippling the Body Politic,” Jonathan Yardley’s 1995 Washington Post review of White House to Your House, by Diamond and Silverman.
In 1995, Yardley described “a politics not of argument and debate but of noise and innuendo, fueled not by principle or conviction but by emotion and prejudice. A body politic that not so long ago was urged to reason together now finds it more entertaining to shout at each other through the endless array of media now available to it. The authors are gloomy about this, and with plenty of reason.”