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GOING THE DISTANCE
"RIDE LIKE AN EGYPTIAN"
PHOTO BY GENGHIS
The freedom we enjoy as bikers and Americans aren't available for Egyptians.
JANUARY 29, 2011 EDITION OF THE NEW YORK POST:
"Chaos engulfed Egypt yesterday as thousands of protesters ignored a nationwide curfew and squared off against police, setting fire to ruling-party buildings and attacking government offices in unprecedented defiance of the iron-fisted rule of President Hosni Mubarak.....At least 19 people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded across Egypt in an upheaval that threatened to spread across the Arab world.....In one stunning scene, thousands of youths armed with rocks and bottles chased hundreds of riot police from the main square in downtown Cairo---and several of the policemen stripped off their uniforms and badges and joined the demonstrators....the internet is a far more powerful force as an irrepressible spark of freedom....one of Mubarak's first acts to quell riots has been to kill access to the internet...."
EDITORIAL BY JACKSON DIEHL, JANUARY 29, 2011 NEW YORK POST:
"During her first trip to Egypt as secretary of state, in March 2009, Hillary Rodham Clinton was asked whether human-rights violations by the Egyptian government would interfere with a visit to the White House by President Hosni Mubarak. It was a good question: Mubarak had not been to Washington in five years, thanks to his clashes with the Bush administration over his political repression....'It is not in any way connected,' Clinton replied. 'I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family....'......The Obama administration's embrace of Mubarak---even as the octogenarian strongman refused to allow the emergence of a moderate, middle-class-based, pro-democracy opposition---has helped bring the United States' most important ally to the brink of revolution...."
Who knows freedom and all that it entails, better than we bikers? The answer is, nobody. The next time you're breezing down the highway on a clear, bright and sun-drenched summer day on your bike at 60 miles per hour with nary a care in the world, remember this: freedom is precious, and not everybody in this world gets to enjoy it---like we do. Cherish it and realize what we have.
The purr of that motor vibrating under your ass, the warm wind exciting the pleasure cells of your brain as it gently caresses the skin of your face as you dreamily cruise across the blacktop.....just imagine not being able to feel the sensations you've become accustomed to, and yes---take for granted.
It's our world, baby. We gladly take ownership of it, acknowledge the freedoms that just being Americans provides us, and wish the best for the rest of world that is deprived of freedom.
Cry for it, and laugh because of it. Rejoice in it, and guard it jealously and judiciously....and want it for everyone else in the world. It is important and essential for we as Americans to desire freedom for everybody else. Freedom begets freedom. President Bush knew this instinctively and cognitively, and acted on it. His drive and respect for freedom as a universal right, was unparalleled.
Imagine that the internet has been taken away from your existence. You would not be reading these words, in that case. One thing becomes clear when it comes to American foreign policy towards dictatorships where Freedom! is reaching a tipping point to overthrowing despotism:
We should always take the side of freedom.
The next time you're hangin' out at the Seedy X-Bar & Grill, and you're bored just because nobody's posted anything noteworthy lately, remember: your freedom to merely be there, is the most important thing. The freedom of the internet, and our presumed freedom of assembly at places like the Seedy, are not a given all over the world. This basic freedom that we as bikers take for granted as immutable, can and is withdrawn as expeditiously as dictator's single phone call to his minions, followed by fast-as-you-can! orders given to internet providers to cease and desist operations. Obstructing internet access is analogous to book burning, but more immediate in it's consequences.
That's all it takes, man---one phone call from a dictator to stunt what you're using right now---and are able to use right now, because our American freedoms gauarantee it.
Always support freedom.
Playing it "safe" in foreign policy when human rights and freedoms are at stake, is a dangerous game. Playing "not to lose", as opposed to the play-to-win freedom agenda of the Bush administration, has put the current administration, as well as our country and economy at serious risk. Markets around the world tanked yesterday because of the strife in Egypt, threatening to metastasize to other Arab countries. This can be disastrous for our fragile, recovering economy.
As bikers, nobody can appreciate better than we, the unintended consequences of weakness and lack of resolve on the part of an administration: a weakening economy, loss of jobs, loss of money, and a diminished ability to ride.
I'm riding my stroker Harley "Mabel" on the Northern State Parkway on Long Island. The blue skies above seem like a God-given cloak of protection of us, as we hit our lengthening stride in fourth gear at 75 miles an hour. We're in a rhythm, like Zenyatta as she passed slower steeds.
I don't know the actual speed from a gauge, because Mabel has never had a speedometer for the 25 years I've owned her. I just know this from the feel of her, and the way her motor sounds and feels at that speed. I'm daydreaming as we blast along, the mighty song of her 86 cubic inches fills my soul. I'm daydreaming of where I should divert from the Northern State....should it be the Meadowbrook Parkway leading to the ocean?
It doesn't matter. We are in Heaven, Mabel and I. The day is grand, a good day to be a biker, to swim in the joys of Harley riding.
It is a typically care-free American day for a biker like me. It is a day to marvel at how smoothly and strongly my Harley 74 is running, so important to my mental health and peace of mind.
I also think of how far I want to go, where I might gas up, before we head back to good 'ole New York City, my forever home. For now we'll keep riding. There's time enough for The Return Home.
The freedom we have as a birthright as bikers, to just enjoy our life....the life guaranteed by our American way of life. It rules. That protective cloak of blue sky hovering over us as we matriculate down the road, is not universal---even if the American Blue Sky is contiguous with the sky overhanging the rest of the Earth.
Always land on the side of freedom.
PHOTO BY GENGHIS
American freedom in New York City.