A couple of days ago, I saw a car with a bumper sticker that read "Vegans Just Don't Matter." Now, it's pretty rare that I feel directly targeted by bumper stickers -- especially since most of them tend to be for something rather than against. Or those that are hostile are so patently absurd (i.e., "No Fat Chicks" or the one that I see in the staff/faculty parking lot I use -- "Only Fools Believe the Biased Liberal Media" which always makes me shake my head trying to imagine what "liberal media" would actually look like).
So I tried to imagine what would motivate someone to put such a sticker on their car. Sure, I live in a big city -- there are a couple of vegetarian restaurants and several of the large-chain fresh/healthy/organic type stores. But it's not a particularly food-progressive city. There aren't Vegan Pride marches or regular PETA demonstrations. There are plenty of all-meat restaurants (and colon specialists) here as well. So what would make this person feel so threatened that he/she has to announce this opinion?
All I can come up with is that somehow, some way, we vegans matter enough to this individual that he/she has to deny that fact. If anything, this bumper sticker will mean that the word vegan will enter the consciousness of thousands of people on the freeway who might not otherwise hear or see the word. Every little bit of awareness contributes to the possibility of future dialogue or change. For every idiot who laughs at the "No Fat Chicks" sticker, there's someone else who thinks "my sister in law would feel hurt by that, and I feel irritated on her behalf." For every person who laughs and says "I'm going to McDonalds right now to prove vegans are stupid" there's someone else who thinks "I wonder what it means to be a vegan."
So, hey, vegan-dismisser. I'm actually glad you're out driving around.