So, pick up truck in front of me, bumper sticker on the gate, that poke-in-the-eye Gadsden flag yellow with two coiled rattlesnakes, one in each bottom corner:
“I’m the Colonial Revolutionary Your Hippie Friends Warn You About”
Common enough mistake. Very human really. Imagining our political enemies see us as we see ourselves and take us as seriously as we take ourselves. My liberal heart bled for the guy. I didn’t see him but the driver had to be a guy. I was hoping he was going where I was going and would pull into the parking lot next to me so I could tell him.
“I’m sorry to have to deliver the bad news, Ethan Allen, but my hippie friends don’t warn me about you. They laugh at you.”
“Do you really expect them not to? Maybe you don’t have a tricorn hat of your own but have you seen your fellow Tea Party types in their fancy dress? They look like Mel Gibson in The Patriot to you? Tim Mison on Sleepy Hollow? You think the sight of middle aged men in knee breeches fills people with awe and respect? Makes them think, you know, they’re just like George Washington, they must be the good guys? Maybe you’re not old enough yourself, but most of your guys were around in the 60s and early 70s and they can tell you how cowed they were by all those college radicals in their Mao jackets. Many of those self-styled revolutionaries were just trying to piss off their parents. Maybe that’s what your guys think they’re doing. Pissing off their grandkids. But those college radicals and you Tea Party types, you’re alike in thinking that putting on a costume changes you. Other people, though, don’t see the change. They see an adult in a costume playing make-believe revolutionary and they either laugh or they feel sorry. Your bumper sticker. It’s a costume.”
He pulled off, headed for a grocery store, and I kept going where I was going, so I was saved from embarrassing myself like that. As if he’d care what I thought of him any more than I care what he thinks of me. That’s another common mistake, thinking we can change someone else’s good opinion of themself. Got beams enough in my own eyes, no business of mine to go around plucking motes.
Robert Burns’ birthday isn’t until Sunday, but why wait?
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion!