The Spectacle Blog

To Live and Blog in L.A.: A Coexist Metaphor

By on 10.14.13 | 12:14PM

Over the weekend, I had the distinct privilege of undergoing my monthly "oblivious young woman in a hybrid with the Coexist bumper sticker cuts me off and then proceeds to give me the dirty look because I was in the way of her careening Prius" near-death experience. 

You can almost set your watch by such occurrences here on the West Side of Los Angeles.

Is there a better illustration of the empty, vapid nature of a Coexist bumper sticker than a reckless, oblivious liberal girl who feels good about herself because it's on her car's bumper (as she swerves in and out of traffic, scolding other drivers with her condescending stare for not being able to read her sporadic mind)?

This woman can't even Coexist with other drivers on the road, but Muslims and Israelis should "stop all that fuss" and lay down their arms? That's her solution—for everyone to just knock it off and "get along"?

The meaningless, pie-in-the-sky message of the Coexist bumper sticker is attractive only to those who think that the only evil to fear in the world comes from people who dare pierce their delusional bubble with reminders that real evil exists (and, consequently, that bad people need to be dealt with).  

If it's this difficult for one driver to Coexist with fellow motorists, think of how complex things get in a nation of 300 million people (or in a world of six billion).

Of course we need respect for each other as fellow human beings, but that doesn't mean putting our heads in the sand and patting ourselves on the back all the way to Spin class. We need better ways of doing things to triumph over the lousy ones. We need the good guys to beat the bad guys.

I want peace. We all want peace. But faux moral grandstanding via a bumper sticker is as far from achieving peace in our time as is imaginable. Truth is better than peace. And the truth is, the streets of Santa Monica and Venice Beach aren't where the message of tolerance is needed.

If the wheat-grass-chugging hipster gal who nearly ended my life the other night genuinely wanted to make any discernible difference in the world (so far as the good vibes of Coexisting are concerned), she'd pack up her hemp-sewn luggage and head to the streets of Tehran or Istanbul or Mogadishu. The people who refuse to Coexist aren't going to have a change of heart because of her bumper sticker, and the rest of us, I assume, are supposed to feel bad that we don’t love tolerance enough to slap a self-indulgent sign onto the back of our motorized vehicle.

I think the real reason they don’t allow smoking in west L.A. is because of what one spark would do to all the Straw Men lining its streets.

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