Engl 2329 – Artistic Response to War

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The Bumper of my SUV

Song Lyrics:

I’ve got a bright red sticker on the back of my car
Says United States Marines
And yesterday a lady in a mini-van held up a middle finger at me
Does she think she knows what I stand for
Or the things that I believe
Just by looking at a sticker for the U.S. Marines
On the bumper of my SUV

See, my brother Chris, he’s been in for more than 14 years now
Our dad was in the Navy during Vietnam
Did his duty then he got out
And my grandpa earned his purple heart
On the beach of Normandy
That’s why I’ve got a sticker for the U.S. Marines
On the bumper of my SUV

But that doesn’t mean that I want war
I’m not Republican or Democrat
But I’ve gone all around this crazy world
Just to try and better understand
And yes, I do have questions
I get to ask them because I’m free
That’s why I’ve got a sticker for the U.S. Marines
On the bumper of my SUV

‘Cause I’ve been to Hiroshima and I’ve been to the DMZ
I’ve walked on the sand in Baghdad
Still don’t have all of the answers I need
But I guess I wanna know where she’s been
Before she judges and gestures to me
‘Cause she don’t like my sticker for the U.S. Marines
On the bumper of my SUV

So I hope that lady in her mini-van
Turns on her radio and hears this from me
As she picks up her kids from their private school
And drives home safely on our city streets
Or to the building where her church group meets
Yeah, that’s why I’ve got a sticker for the U.S. Marines
On the bumper of my SUV

Written and Recorded by Chely Wright (November 2004)

Video found on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZdq62ThVQM


The first stanza of Chely Wright’s song, “The Bumper of my SUV”, describes to the listener that she shows her support for The United States Marines, with a bumper sticker on her van.  Then, a misjudgment by a complete stranger took place.  The stranger gave her the middle finger, as her way of indicating that she was against the war.  However, this person did not know anything about why the singer shows support for the troops.

In the second stanza the listener learns that the singer has a brother that has been in the Marine Corps for fourteen years.  Prior to that there are even deeper roots in her family with the military, as both her father and grandfather had served.  These family members are assumed to have been very active in war, especially since her grandfather was awarded the Purple Heart.  There is a deep since of respect that she has for them, which is one of the reasons that she supports our soldiers.

The singer goes on to state that just because she shows her support of the troops, does not mean that she is pro-war.  Her decision does not have to do with any political affiliation, but rather life experiences.  She has traveled and seen the effect of war.  Because of these effects, she has apprehensions about war, as we all do.  She recognizes that she is allowed to question the decision makers only because she has been granted the luxury of freedom.

The song continues on, but this is where the focus of the singer’s message lies, and as such, is cause for further reflection.  Chely Wright wants the listener to think about how we are able to question, and have our own opinions.  In many countries, the freedoms and luxuries that the American people have, and often take for granted, are what people in other nations can only dream of.  This thought calls us to be proud and mindful of the fundamental freedoms that we were born into, as Americans.  This should empower us in wanting to defend what we stand for as a nation, should it be threatened in any way.  Therefore, those men and women who have felt the call to fight on our behalf, so our freedoms will never be threatened or taken away, should be supported.  That, and, their families, friends, and everyone who is directly affected by their deployments, should be commended.  In war many people’s lives change.  Daughters are without mothers, sons are without fathers, etc.  Whether or not you are for or against war, you still get to enjoy the freedoms that our ancestors fought so hard for because of individuals who are willing to step up and defend them.

The singer/songwriter, Chely Wright, was very effective, convincing, and compelling in making these points clear.  She was able to give a personal touch, which made the song even more heartfelt, and believable.  Her experiences gave her the ability to depict a simple scenario, a bumper sticker on a van, and conjure up so many emotions for the listener.  It is unknown if she was able to convert any anti-war listeners, but she makes a strong argument.  War is not something that many people desire to engage in.  However, when a nation like us, the United States of America, is threatened, it is necessary to make it known that we will not cower down to terrorism.  To many men and women who have fallen in war, have given their lives to defend what our nation stands for.  The decision to go to war is never taken lightly, but will be the result if what we stand for is endangered.

Published in:Uncategorized |on September 28th, 2013 |Comments Off