The crowds around Wisconsin on Saturday March 12, 2011 had a diseased quality about them that cannot be summed up without a philosophic journey of epic understanding. In short however, I can only offer that those poor souls marching to a socialist drum beat are lost to what it means to be an American. Without question, many of the marchers are veterans, police, firefighters and other traditional patriots, but to me they seem weak, and ill-informed, lost in a portrayal the media has given them without actually earning it. The America they want and desire is one for the soft, fragile specimens of human being that finds their life spans sickly, and always in need of assistance.
I’ve rode motorcycles for more than 20 years and always stayed away from the stereotype of what a biker is, I guess because the image has been associated with gangs and violence. It’s also associated with death. The perception is that if you ride a motorcycle, you will die. Maybe not right away, but eventually, the grim reaper is in close pursuit if you chose to ride a motorcycle.
So I’ve kept my motorcycle riding more of a private thing. I’ve always embraced a sense of freedom and a love of individuality and vehicles on two wheels were the closest thing to a horse that I could get living in a modern, suburban environment.
Cowboys to me have always been the symbol of what an American is. And cowboys rode horses when they settled the west. To modern America, highways have replaced trails, and motorcycles replaced horses. And to the motorcycle rider, the goals are the same as the cowboy.
The cowboy wanted to extend his mobility over vast distances, whether he was herding cattle or just searching for food. And where herding cattle may not be needed, and food is available at the closest McDonalds, the need to extend your reach is still needed for the hungry adventurer.
And that’s what you find in a motorcyclist, a love a freedom and a desire to extend their reach without the protection of any other vehicle. To be exposed to the road flying by below you, exposed to the elements rain, wind and heat, and to be one mistake away from death. It’s a choice millions of motorcyclist volunteer each year.
I started thinking about defining motorcyclist when I kept getting the same questions, why do you ride in the rain? And why do you ride when it’s cold?
For me, it’s about truth. Not the kind of truth that’s about right and wrong. But the kind of truth you find when you push yourself to the limit. The kind of truth mountain climbers understand, or endurance hikers. People that put comfort aside and find strength in themselves they didn’t know they had.
motorcyclist, whatever their various forms, have this yearning in common, even if they aren’t completely aware of it.
When my wife and I made a long ride to Key West I thought about these things a lot especially as we neared our destination over the inter-coastal highway US1 south of Miami in temperatures that hovered around 107 degrees Fahrenheit. I look at motorcycles the same way I look at World War II aircraft. When introduced, it was the first time in human history that an individual could extend their boundaries beyond their home territory. The automobile of course had come along but where the auto departs from the nature of flying machines is a pilot uses a stick and rudder to fly, so all parts of the human body are engaged. On a motorcycle the same holds true, one foot operates the rear brake, another shifts the gears, another operates the throttle and the right brake, and yet another operates the clutch, and all this without much protection of any kind.
Airplanes are deceptively fragile, with only a very thin skin between the pilot and the outside air. In order to operate them, a well-defined understanding of the dangers involved is needed.
It is no coincidence that motorcycles and airplanes are both associated with freedom. At first, because they tie up their operators with being fully involved in the process of flying or driving them, it is this very fact that lends to the feelings of liberation.
Make a long run on a motorcycle, and you will feel you earned every mile, and it is inescapable to feel complacent afterwards. Where the motorcycle is unique over any other mode of transportation, the cost to operate it per mile is very inexpensive. And that makes it one of the best machines around if you’re willing to trade a bit of safety and comfort for the reach a motorcycle gives you.
On our trip to Key West from Cincinnati we traveled over 3000 miles in just under 7 days and spent $167 in fuel.
Riding a motorcycle is a reliable excuse to be different, even if some of that ends up looking the same. You can dress in leather jackets in the heat of an August afternoon and it’s OK. It’s a reason to dress outrageously and proclaim your individuality. A motorcycle invites adventure to what would otherwise be just a simple trip down the road. In hard weather, it forces you to adapt taking you out of your comfort zone.
And that’s the appeal for me. Every time you get on a bike, there is an opportunity for adventure that you just don’t get in an automobile. It gives you unprecedented reach for traveling because you can do it much more economically than any other mode of transportation. And it allows you to cater your bike and riding apparel to your individual tastes.
In a car, you might just get in and start driving, and the ritual is rather short and uninvolved. On a bike, you have to dress for the ride which will probably include a jacket of some kind, gloves, boots, and durable pants. You have to keep your eye on the world around you not only the traffic and the dangers associated with that, but the weather too.
A storm can surge up in an instant. A heavy downpour on a highway at 70 MPH can cause you enormous amounts of pain if your skin is exposed. And you’ll notice when the breaks in the clouds are coming and see how the rain rolls in and drifts away as you move through it, where in a car, you may drive 20 to 50 miles and barely register what’s going on in the world around you, because inside the car, life goes on much like it would in your home.
Motorcycle riders understand pirates. The two life styles go together very well. The romance that many secretly feel toward the golden age of piracy is embodied in the fantasies of the motorcycle rider for many of the same reasons described in the long motorcycle journey. And to understand the magic of America, you have to understand one of the greatest pirates of all time, and a personal hero of mine, Captain Henry Morgan.
It is true that I have a particular fondness for the pirates that roamed the Caribbean during the golden age of piracy from 1660’s to the 1720’s. Not to imply that I honor the life of the thief. But I do credit those particular pirates as being the foundations of America, because in my view the nations of Europe were the true thieves.
Controversial, of course it is. But you have to remember what the world was at the time and why the pirates came to be. At the time that Spain claimed central and South America, they eradicated all the cultures existing at the time and stole the wealth of those cultures. Just because a nation is behind the robbery, does not make them any less a thief. And consider that at the time the English navy, would kidnap young men and employ them against their will to serve the might of their empire, and that England and France, always at war with one another, could not stand to allow the Spanish to reap all the benefits of its conquest of the Aztecs and their great capital city of Tenochtitlan.
“Tenochtitlan was a marvelous metropolis with complicated lakes that surrounded the place. The Spanish upon seeing it claimed it was so beautiful that it looked like a dream. Cortez conquered the city shortly, and had Montezuma stoned to death in front of his own people. The Aztecs had an army, but their only real focus had been to raid neighboring tribes for victims in human sacrifice to their insatiable gods, especially Quetzalcoatl. They were no match for the battle hardened Spanish and their firepower.
Cortez destroyed the city block by block and built a new city on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, a city that would become one of the largest cities in the world, Mexico City. Not only did this city go on to become one of the most dangerous places in the world, but any attempt to uncover the past of Tenochtitlan are long since destroyed. The great monument that resides in Mexico City now is the golden-winged Angel of Independence. A very strange statue for a people who were completely conquered by Spain and had their culture eradicated.
Anyway, Cortez sacked the city, destroyed the culture which was rich with gold, and proceeded to bring all that gold to Spain much to the concern of England and France. England, recruiting naval officers in the manner they had, and the rigors of their sea fairing discipline made it easy for rebellion at sea to cast off their nation and become a pirate.
Privateers were acts of piracy backed by countries, to prevent the Spanish from keeping too much gold of their newly conquered land. It didn’t take long for those privateers to cast away their nations and the burdens of their ownership in favor of freedom. So the exploits of L’Ollonais, Captain Morgan and Black Beard may have been violent and against the law, but the law makers had broken many laws as well. Those pirates wanted freedom from the heresy of nations. These very pirates were the first democracies in the world. Pirates had elections, and insurance, and were certainly the first organizations in the world to show a successful democracy and the ability of a small few to stand up to the tyranny of nations. Without question, the very popular book Buccaneers of American by Alexander O. Exquemelin which was published just shy of the 1700’s sat on the book shelves of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams who at their time collected thousands of books. It is no accident that the exploits of the pirates in that book paved the way for the bold words of the founding fathers, because the pirates had managed to wreak havoc against the mighty English. Using the same basic principles as the pirate code, The Declaration of Independence was written with a bit more education behind the quill that wrote it, but with equal sincerity. In fact, in the final battle against the English during the War of 1812, Jean Lafitte helped Andrew Jackson defeat the English in New Orleans by using the pirates that ran with Lafitte to break the English will. Pirates have played an important role in the foundations of America, and I love them for it! Their descendents find themselves riding motorcycles instead of sailing ships.
Now among motorcycle riders, these modern pirates, there are two categories of which I am of the second. The first is the rider that brings out his motorcycle on the first warm day of the year and rides his bike when the sun shines. The second is the one that rides all year, rain, shine, hot or cold. I know many, many men that talk tough, but in reality are soft at heart. They may have large muscle mass, but that is usually to disguise the weakness behind their eyes.
Many of that first type is the union worker that buys a Harley because they have the expendable income, and of that group are thousands of police, firefighter and factory workers, the so-called middle class. They bring out their motorcycles when the sun shines and the weather is warm. And in the windows of their cars and trucks they place a sticker proclaiming, “Harley Davidson,” so as to let people know that they have a motorcycle at home in the garage.
This tendency says a lot about their character.
For a while, I was vice-president of the Suzuki Club of North America and I was on a long ride with them all across Ohio. My wife and I put 500 miles on our bike that day, but I had a dispute with the president because we hit rain and he wanted to stop under an overpass. He figured that because he was president of the organization that I should follow his lead, especially in front of the other members.
I quit the club that day and road in the rain alone with my wife clutched to my back. We all met at a dealership later that day for a membership drive, but that was the last day I ever spoke to those guys. The philosophic differences between us were too great.
You see, this is the fundamental trouble with our nation. America was founded on freedom and independence, bravery, valor, rugged individualism, endurance and a tendency toward isolationism. This new breed of American raised in the labor movement, which has its roots in European socialism attracts the weak, soft minds of those that are afraid to compete.
There is no question that through social legislation the life of the working poor can be improved, as is evidence in the modern union laborer. I’ve known many of those people all my life and their hearts are for the most part soft. They only have courage in groups. They rule through thuggish intimidation because alone they are weak souls that only ride their motorcycles on sunny days if at all. What they fail to understand, which is why socialism fails 100% of the time is that everyone’s success in this life or failure, is depended upon the “character” of the individual.
Collectivism lacks character, and that is why the same people walking around Wisconsin or Ohio with signs protesting the removal of collective bargaining legislation are terrified, because they don’t have the character to exist on their own actions, and they are un-American in my opinion. At least the America I understand.
Now to them, in the Socialist States of America they are American, and they’ll fly their flags proudly. I know them well. Because they lack character and individual strength they are easily mislead since they don’t know their own history, they have allowed others to rewrite it for their convenience.
This is why they believe collective bargaining is their “right.” They have allowed themselves to be soft, and psychologically weak. They only have strength in mass swarms which isn’t strength at all. They are a spreading cancer if anything that will trade freedom for security out of sheer lack of character.
A part of me feels sorry for those union protestors. 90,000 or even 100,000 fools can fill a stadium at a sport event, or even a rock concert. They don’t represent anything but a collective hive of insect minded creatures that can carry signs and attempt to hide their lack of character behind a mass. All they can do is make noise, scream and chant, or inflict vandalism on their opponents, because they don’t have the character to meet the majority equally in a war of ideas. I feel sorry for them because they lack the courage and character to truly be an American.
Our nation was founded by pirates, adventures, and intellectuals that dared to question the European socialism trends that Marx captured in his little pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto. I know some real Americans. They are a patient group that is easily overlooked by the media because they are self-reliant. And compared to the socialist, soft-minded, left-winged, characterless, malcontents inspired to chant as a mob to achieve rights that they have no claim to are in for a sad and pathetic awakening, the real Americans will be there when everything collapses because they are always what held the nation together.
The public sector worker has always been a parasite that took far more than it gave, and received a pat on the head like a dog, by politicians just looking for a vote. Collective bargaining gave improper rights to those that didn’t deserve it, by taking from those Americans that worked hard, and taught their children to have character. Such people are what hold the nation together with the heart of those old pirates that were willing to do anything to leave behind the tyranny of Europe.Unions are European by design and that makes them disgusting and doomed to fail and here is the reason why, radicals place too much emphasis on the monotony of a day’s work. They identify themselves as a “laborer” and not person of character and that is why these people will fail at life no matter how much money we give them. They meditate on that which is depressing, those hours of the day that they sell to someone else in exchange for financial compensation. And they expect that for all time they can minimize the impact of that sale through collective bargaining. Their failure is that they lost their character and become their jobs, so thus they see nothing but that time they’ve sold away. They seek to fill that void with more financial compensation.
That’s why they are a broken people doomed to fail over and over in their lives. To hear them speak is like listening to the ghost of a depressed soul that doesn’t know that life has left it. All you can feel is pity for the poor creature.
Thugs, losers and mindless fools are bred because they traded character for socialism.
It is these characters that have turned our society into a Logothete of ineptitude, over regulated and uninventive.
And that is something that deserves to be despised.