Consider what are likely values for X in the phrasal template (nascent snowclone?) I X and I vote. Such a declaration is commonly seen on bumper stickers and sometimes in the windows of people’s places of residence. In my experience (at least the experience that I think I can recall), it’s most commonly I own a gun and I vote and I’m in the NRA and I vote. But that could just be because a house near where I used to live had such a sign up in his or her window. I briefly considered that this was more of a right-wing thing to say. But if you search on google you’ll find slogans like I’m Indian, I game and I vote, I have a dog and I vote, and I’m undead and I vote, none of which really leads one to believe that the voter in question leans one way or the other politically. Well, maybe the last one…
Let it be known that other(s) have noted and commented on this pattern, including this criticism. Others seem to be aware of the template and modify it consciously.
In any case, it seems that the non-humorous ones tend at least to be proclaiming that the person holds some fringe (I’m Pagan and I vote) or at least controversial (I’m Pro-Choice and I vote) stance. What’s interesting is what you can tell about a person from the bumper sticker beyond the two stated facts.
Okay, so I really have only one case in mind, and that’s the following bumper sticker I saw recently in Berkeley. I don’t recall the sort of car it was on, but the sticker was green, and it read
I eat tofu and I vote.
Given the connection in the West (or at least California) between tofu and vegetarianism/veganism, and (thereby?) with environmentalism, and in general progressive attitudes, I read this as a statement of progressive, or possibly just tree-hugger values. But for what class of people could you draw such a connection? And here’s where the issue of the significance of tofu-eating comes in. There are people for whom tofu eating is nothing special, myself included, but nonetheless there is at least for some people (again, myself included) a recognition of the indexicality of tofu, especially (or exclusively) among people for whom tofu is something quite special. And it is this latter group’s recognition of the specialness of tofu that lets one understand the significance of the bumper sticker. Of course it’s not so simple as all that – it’s not necessarily just about individuals who happen to eat tofu, but the historical context in which they eat it. The grown child of an immigrant from a tofu-eating nation might feel just as home with tofu as the grown child of people raised in a tofu-is-new culture. Nonetheless, the social significance of eating tofu, or at least the recognition of a historical significance, might somehow persist in the later generation, such that the driver of that car might have dietary habits observably no different from (say) mine, though it would be entirely misleading (in intent, though not in literal meaning) to put that bumper sticker on my own car.
On the other hand, if a bumper sticker were to read I eat rice and I vote we would have a rather different situation.