How to Tell if You’re Talking to a Liberal

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The other day a friend of mine sent me an exchange he had with a couple of folks on the Politico Facebook page. One of his comments had been reported by someone and now he was unable to post on any group or organizational page for the foreseeable future. That happens sometimes. One time, in a heated exchange, I called someone a racist and was blocked from commenting for a month because as a Conservative I’m not qualified to call anyone that. The ironic thing about my friend’s dilemma is that the person he was exchanging words with used language ten times worse than he, and when he reported that person, was told by Facebook that the other person’s comments didn’t fit their guidelines for bullying or harassment. Now, I’ve heard many similar stories from fellow Conservatives, as well as innumerable instances where Facebook has eliminated Conservative and Tea Party group pages for “violating Facebook policies” while allowing other groups to flourish, such as “The Awkward Silence After a Fat Person Calls Themselves Fat” and “It’s Really Not That Spicy. You’re Just White” and “Looking at % Instead of Price When Buying Alcohol” (well, that’s not a bad page, not really). My now-blocked Conservative friend has been an active member of many political Facebook pages and isn’t afraid to go into the ring with a Liberal. In other words, I don’t worry about him at all. He’s intelligent, articulate, well informed and thick-skinned, all positive traits for a practicing Conservative. As I went over the exchange he had with the Liberal, I began to wonder if Conservatives new to social media actually know when they’re being confronted by a true blue Liberal, and not some average numbskull mouth breather, so I decided to use some of the comments he encountered (along with others I gleaned from the internet) to illustrate the general characteristics of a Liberal and to perhaps help them avoid being blindsided with censorship or worse. I hope Jeff Foxworthy doesn’t mind my using some of his vernacular.

You know you’re talking to a Liberal when –

1. He insults your character instead of staying on topic. “You supercilious, pompous, condescending ass!” “I point out the facts, you cretin-” “Your mother must have been raped by a retarded monkey!” “You’re bald because nothing grows on poison!” This technique is designed to derail a subject that the Liberal obviously does not want to talk about. It is an attempt to change the course of the conversation and anger his opponent into sinking to the same level.

2. He uses the words “Teabagger,” “Repugs” or “Right whingers”.  The uber-Liberal actually believes this is what they are called.

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3. He accuses Conservatives of being arsonists, terrorists, people with bombs strapped to their chest, people with a knife to the throat or gun to the head of Americans, warmongers, extortionists, blackmailers and of course insane. This is meant to frighten the bystanding reader and make the Conservative seem evil. These sort of Liberals consider this tactic as taking the high road. High road indeed.

4. He constantly talks about ‘saving one child’ but applauds shutting down the AMBER Alert System, or even worse, supports the murder of millions of fetuses by saying life begins whenever the parents say it begins. A Liberal also justifies barricading national monuments but refuses to secure the border. This sort of skewed logic can be deceptive at times, so be on your guard. If you are low income, a Liberal might hypnotize you into believing the only way to alleviate poverty is to tax the people who work and create jobs. It is simply an attempt to take blame off his party and onto the back of the Conservatives.

5. He uses logic and language such as the fellow my friend debated. Here, I’ll quote his entire diatribe and you decide if he is a Liberal: “Who said I was tolerant? I made no such claim. I fucking despise you rancid teabaggers for what you have done to this country, and for constantly trying to claim the moral high ground about every single issue. Did the Repugs refuse to accept the raises on principle? Did they deduct the raise and give the money to charity? Politicians of both parties are largely corrupt, but in the final analysis, the Dems are less objectionable because they have not collectively gone batsh!t crazy, and because the party has not been hijacked by a small hard core of extremists who are willing to plunge the country, and potentially the world, into economic disaster because they are trying to achieve by threats and blackmail what they lost two elections on – the Affordable Care Act. Teabagger Conservatives, living proof of wasted oxygen.” Notice how the speaker employed every tactic I’ve mentioned above. Now, I’m not adept like my friend at confronting this sort of attack, and if you’re not careful, this sort of Liberal will bully you into submission and then claim superiority. I think these sort of people believe that “Might Makes Right”. When my friend reported this fellow’s comments to Facebook, he was sent the following reply:

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Be careful when trying to engage a Liberal in a political debate. Not only is he trained in the art of smear tactics (be prepared to be called a ‘racist’ or ‘homophobe’ for no other reason than disagreeing with him), he has the full support of social media organizations, which means he can say pretty much whatever he wants, and can cause you to be banished.

There are many other telling signs of Liberalism, such as believing your child needs your permission to take a Tylenol at school, but not to have an abortion, or getting all his news from MSNBC, or oppose the death penalty while shouting for the execution of George Zimmerman. So if you have Conservative values and want to share your beliefs, beware of the professional Liberal. He’s out to demonize, demoralize and destroy you any way he can. Be sure you wear the armor of Truth and wield the sword of Liberty, because you’ll need them.

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Revolution Against Tyranny Part Four: Non Violent Success Strategies, Chapter One

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My wife gave up voting in the General Election in 2000, and it’s all my fault. I had to go and tell her about the Electoral College, and after verifying the truth of what I told her (either as a consequence of our belonging to two different political ideologies, or my past preponderance for passionate and sometimes truth-stretching rhetoric) she came to the conclusion that her measly vote didn’t count. I tried to soften the reality of the current means of choosing our President by reminding her that a non vote was indeed a vote for the candidate she liked least, but she pointed to Article Two of the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment and reminded me right back that the Electoral College appointees decides who will be leader of the United States. She suggested (rather vehemently, I might add) that we eliminate the Electoral College altogether and choose our President and Vice President by popular vote.

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She effectively joined the ranks of a growing segment of society who feel the same way. In a poll taken by the Washington Post in 2007, 78% of Democrats, 60% of Republicans and 73% of Independents opposed the Electoral College. Even during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a number of members (primarily James Madison) saw the flaw of taking the election out of the people’s hands and argued against it, but the issue of slavery at the time caused the majority of Convention members to fear the slave-holding states would revolt. You see, Suffrage (the abolishment of slavery) was much more popular in the well-populated North, and a direct election by the people would take away much of the South’s leverage in blocking a candidate favorable to such an ideology. Another objection to not having the Electoral College then was raised by the smaller states who feared that the larger states would be able to control who would be President. Legitimate arguments… in 1787. Since then, there have been a number of General Elections where the Electoral College went against the popular vote and chose the President (such as in 1824, 1876, 1888 and of course in 2000). In essence, the Electoral College renders the popular vote irrelevant. Even though it’s happened only four times, it can easily happen again.

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If a third-party candidate sweeps the hearts and minds of the people it will be all for naught, given the present system. For instance, I remember the furor Ross Perot caused as an Independent candidate in the 1992 election. His business-style approach and straight talk wooed many voters. Twice that year, leading up to the Election, he briefly held a majority of support in nationwide polls. In the end he received 19% of the popular vote, and many argue that the primary reasons he didn’t win the outright popular vote was because of poor campaign staffing and because at one point he temporarily withdrew his candidacy. Although Ron Paul did not win much of the popular vote in 2008 and 2012, he has won over a rapidly growing number of supporters with his Libertarian views. Some have even credited him with starting the grassroots Tea Party. The controversial Southerner George Wallace actually won 13% of the popular vote in 1968, but his racist platform became his downfall (along with the death of his wife Lurleen and an assassination attempt during his 1972 run for the Presidency). In 1896 William Jenning Bryant actually won 46% of the vote while running under the Populist Party, but was beaten by McKinley. Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party in 1912 gave the two-party system a run for their money. There actually has been a third party candidate elected President: Abraham Lincoln. When he ran as a Republican, the Republican Party was not a major presence on the political scene. Unfortunately, the Republican Party did such a good job that it eliminated all but the Democratic Party, and ushered in the present two-party system. Current opinion amongst pundits, talking heads and political strategists is that a strong third-party candidate now days only serves to take votes away from one of the two prevailing parties.

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I personally think we should amend the Electoral College instead of eliminating it. The current two-party system is just one party away from a political monopoly, a one-party state susceptible to despotism, a dictatorship or pure Totalitarianism. In fact, doesn’t it seem that the Democrats and Republicans today are morphing into one big bureaucratic monster? It doesn’t look good for us, my fellow citizen. Here’s an idea: The Constitution gives the individual states power to choose their own electoral candidates. Why don’t we insist (via a Constitutional Amendment, of course) that the states delegate their candidates based entirely on the popular vote? Ten states (with a total of 136 electoral votes – over halfway to the 270 votes needed to enact it) have accepted and passed amendments supporting a national popular vote. Here are those brave states: Vermont, Maryland, DC, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington, California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Hawaii. There is actually a significant movement called the National Popular Vote which is pushing for passage of such an bill that would guarantee a majority of the Electoral College to the Presidential candidate receiving the popular vote. Many members of Congress support it, but given the current political retardation and incompetence, the bill has been pushed to a back burner.

I know a lot of folks want to just eliminate the Electoral College altogether, but realistically, there would be greater opposition to such a proposal than if we tweak it. The National Popular Vote bill will insure our voices be heard and our votes count. We all agree that our choices in the current two-party system have been between bad and worse, the devil or the deep blue sea, the fire or the frying pan. If your vote actually counted in the Presidential election, it may propel a strong leader from the Libertarian, Independent, Reform or Green Party to the White House. It may give the candidate that speaks for you and your fellow Americans a fighting chance. It would definitely be a valuable tool in our revolution against tyranny.

Write letters. Call. Bug your legislators. Knock on doors. Harangue your Google + circles and Facebook friends. Raise awareness among those around you. DO something, for goodness sake! A successful revolution depends on having enough people disillusioned by the plastic rhetoric coming out of the mouths of our current two-party zombies and actively working to dismantle them. A successful revolution demands and institutes change. I implore you to BE that change.

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Revolution Against Tyranny – An Introduction

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I have not yet read a full biography of Thomas Jefferson, but I intend to some day. For that matter, I intend to do a lot of things. Thank God for modern medicine, because now I have the opportunity to live long enough to read everything I always wanted. But even though I haven’t plumbed the depth of Jefferson’s life, I have studied enough history and done enough of my own digging to appreciate some of his wisdom and practicality. There are Jefferson scholars who eat people like me for breakfast, but I’m here to warn them that although I may look juicy and meaty, it’s really mostly gas and water. With that being said, I think I’m safe enough to quote Thomas Jefferson and ponder the things he said and how it relates to today. But I’m going to lay down my Jefferson quotes for now in order to meander awhile.

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If you ask certain people the current state of the Union, mainly the Liberal Left and the Left-leaning media (‘leaning’ is too kind a word to describe the tortuous contortions they perform on a daily basis), they will tell you the war on terror has been won, the economy is improving, our global image is favorable and the people of the United States are more hopeful and optimistic than ever before. And Nazis told the Jews they were going to be deloused as they herded them naked into gas chambers. Now, I know that statistics are always manipulated to favor whatever slice of propaganda is needed to feed to the masses, but if you toss all that rot aside and walk around your neighborhood, you’ll get enough of an education to help make up your mind as to the state of the Union. That is unless your neighborhood’s backyards form a country club’s front nine. Then you probably want to walk around a neighborhood that would normally make you nervous. Your neighbor is a family of five struggling to survive. Both Mom and Dad work, but the job market is so poor Dad can’t practice his mechanic skills so he works as a maintenance man in a fast food restaurant, and Mom’s teaching degree has to sit on the shelf because for every working teacher there are fifteen more just like her looking to get in, so she has to do temp work in factories. Their income is a whopping $22,000 a year, which means they struggle to keep food on the table and clothes on their kids’ backs. Your neighbor is a middle aged couple on disability who cannot work because they ground themselves down to nothing raising their own kids and now have to live with their broken bodies. They make a total of $13,00 a year, and must wear extra clothes in the winter and eat frugally just to survive. They are often hungry but they still make too much for food stamp assistance. Now the woman, who waits for Medicare eligibility, has to buy into the Affordable Care Act and has to spend $150 a month in premiums which means they go from hungry to one-meal-a-day starving. Your neighbor is an elderly widow who is in the worst shape of all financially, and whose struggles are so intense as to make angels weep. Her neighbors mow her yard and bring her leftovers and blankets, because that’s what neighbors are for, aren’t they?

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You’ve got neighbors, though, who have learned how to use the system to help them survive. The adults are able-bodied but have managed to get on disability, work under the table to support their drug habits, keep their children in Salvation Army clothes while driving an Escalade, receive food stamps because they lie on the forms and the food stamp system doesn’t care to verify information, and take whatever they can from whomever they can. Your neighbors are a household full of illegal aliens who works for $5 dollars an hour less than their American counterparts, but with fifteen adults sharing rent, they are making out like bandits. Their children don’t go to school because they are not only undocumented, they don’t speak English. They trash their rented home, the yard and their neighbor’s property with trash, and encourage their young to roam the streets at night looking for valuables they can steal. For every productive family in your neighborhood, you have another neighbor who draws entitlements, whether justly or unjustly.

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Overseeing the blight ravishing more and more of our neighborhoods are local governments working feverishly to keep from collapsing with ever-decreasing budgets, businesses losing their profit margins and laying workers off, charity organizations being overwhelmed by tsunami after tsunami of the poor and needy, despair and hopelessness sweeping through like hordes of locusts, schools having to stop all extracurricular programs, even shuttering their libraries, using less teachers with more students. County governments face the same problems as the cities, and the infrastructure begins to disintegrate because there just isn’t the funds to fix roads or maintain buildings. There is no help from the State government as well, not because of poverty, but because of unmitigated waste and corruption and greed and unnecessary laws and ineptitude in every corner. The Federal government is in worse shape than all the others combined because of politicking, adulterous relationships with special interest groups, a total lack of caring for their constituents, and an orchestrated, active movement using the full power of the federal government to rewrite the constitution so it can control all aspects of the citizens’ lives, to make the people dependent and docile and compliant. The big kahunas in their ivory towers actually want the people to despair, they want chaos and fear, because a desperate society is a captive society. It is happening, my friends. We are on a slippery slope, and the government owns all the Vaseline.

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Now let’s listen to what Thomas Jefferson had to say. He wrote: “I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” This was spoken two hundred and forty years ago! Mr. Jefferson would have a conniption fit were he alive today. We are so infested with parasites that it is a wonder we are able to stand at all. He understood the dangers of an out-of-control federal government. He said “I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.” Our present government is addicted to the crack cocaine of power and greed, and we suffer daily the oppression of its insatiable hunger.

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Read carefully Thomas Jefferson’s words: “God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty…. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” My friends and good neighbors, we are LONG overdue in the watering of the tree of liberty! Not of patriots; the tears and blood and sweat of such noble and loving souls have been the sole source of nourishment, and their spirits call out to us, crying “Have we lived and died in vain that our descendants must also suffer the ravishes of tyranny?” I tell you that the time is NOW to nourish the tree of liberty with the blood of our oppressors! The public liberty is withering away because we have neglected the spirit of resistance for too long. If we have no true patriots who are willing to throw off the yoke of tyranny, we will be nothing more than chattel.

I challenge you, reader, to light a blaze under those around you, a flame of outrage and action. You must educate your neighbors, you must slap them awake from their slumber, you must energize them and call them to action and then challenge them to light the fire of resistance under their neighbors. Research the candidates for office and look for those who will preserve liberty by defending the Constitution, promoting fiscal responsibility through less taxes and healthy competition, decreasing the size of government and championing personal independence. If you cannot find such a person, BE that person! We must not allow ourselves to settle for anything less.

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Thomas Jefferson also said “Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.” It is imperative that each of us create such a storm of liberty as to crush the fortress of tyranny into sand! Use the ballot now, or use the sword later. Make the government fear us, or it will be too late!

I have spoken about certain warriors willing to fight tyranny. I shall write of more. But YOU must become a warrior, or all is lost. Wake up, neighbor, then wake up your neighbors.

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Revolution Against Tyranny Part One: Warriors of the First Degree Chapter Thirteen

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Between the cold water, Icees, air conditioning and time spent talking with James from Louisiana I felt ready to tackle the eleven hour trip back to Florence, Alabama. I called my longsuffering wife to warn her I was officially on my way home, filled up the tank, put in another Led Zepplin CD and hit the highway. Traffic was fairly heavy but wasn’t unexpected, as it was the evening rush hour. I thought about phoning my sponsor Robert Bumpas, whose funds had allowed me to make this journey, but decided to wait until I made it home and then fill him in on everything. I did talk to my elder sister Marty D’Arcy living in Atlanta and compared notes. I was suppose to have uploaded pictures and film onto my Google + account as well as my website, but the tablet I used had failed me completely. Mark’s 4G phone had worked perfectly on the National Mall, allowing him to send media to the internet, but my device had to rely on the wi-fi signals in the air and was more miss than hit. Marty told me that the major news agencies did not report the event at all (surprise surprise) but the internet was abuzz with video and pictures and personal anecdotes. There was even a big fuss over the Department of Transportation’s website that was suppose to display the major Beltway exits for commuters. Instead of showing a mass of bikes circling the Beltway, someone in the agency had replaced the live images with static shots of the exits with no traffic whatsoever. There were even pictures of exits covered in snow – purportedly on the eleventh of September! This was the extent our government was willing to go to try and rewrite history. The realization was absurd, outrageous and chilling.

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Three hours into the trip I could barely keep my eyes open. The past 24 hours was finally catching up with me. No, it had caught up with me and was beating me over the head with a ton of sand. I forced myself to drive until I came across a rest area, then pulled off the highway and was asleep before I could properly close my eyes. Four hours later I awoke with a start to darkness and the sound of dozens of big trucks idling. I stepped out of my car and walked around the rest area until my circulation kicked in. I saw a couple of Harleys parked close to the bathrooms and felt a rush of camaraderie come over me. One of the bikes had a large American flag rolled up and lashed to its pole, looking like an imposing spear rising up from the back of the Harley. No doubt these guys had been to the Ride. I thought about waiting for them so we could talk but decided against it. I went to the vending machines instead. As I wrestled over a Mounds candy bar that didn’t want to open I heard the bikes start up with a familiar roar and watched the riders pull back onto the Interstate.

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I mulled over memories of the day and night before as I wandered back to my car. I had not seen this level of patriotism since watching the fleet come into Norfolk, Virginia from Operation Desert Storm in ’91. No, not even then, because that patriotism generated from the family, friends and grateful citizens. This display, this pride of nation and flag, I had never experienced before, not even in my days in the military. The men I had witnessed and encountered on this journey had come from everywhere to defend the sacred memory of those who had lost their lives twelve years earlier. There were representatives of all social classes, all races, all branches of the military, all occupations, all political leanings, all corners of our nation to be counted – not as one in a million, but as ONE. They may have brought with them feelings of disaffection with the Muslims, dissatisfaction with the government and disappointment with the state of affairs in the country and world, but to a man they came to preserve the sanctity of 9/11, to remind themselves, each other and the nation that we will never forget the horror, nor the singular determination to make those who had orchestrated such a heinous act pay for what they had done, and to renew our vow to do whatever it takes to keep that sort of thing from ever happening again. If another enemy, foreign or domestic, tries to bring us down, there won’t be 1.2 million bikers. There will be TWELVE million warriors on motorcycles, and that wouldn’t even be the tip of the spear. The United States – again, I say the UNITED States – consists of 314 million warriors, most of them armed to the teeth, each willing to water the tree of liberty with his or her blood. If push comes to shove, we will not suffer any threat to our freedoms, be it from outside forces or our own government. We are slow to anger and quick to forgive, but above all we are not afraid to defend our rights and the rights of our neighbors. We may fuss and fight among ourselves, but let someone come in and try to tell us what to do and we’ll bring Toby Keith’s song lyrics to life (Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue): “We’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way.”

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I had seen a sample of that boot this day and was grateful I had been there to witness it. It took me another 18 hours to get home and about a week before I fully recovered from the road, but if needed, I would have turned right around and taken my tired old self wherever my country needed me. For the rest of my life, whenever I hear the sound of a motorcycle, I’ll think of those brave warriors of the first degree, and the sound will comfort me because it roars of freedom.

 

To be Continued (with more tales of Warriors of the First Degree)…

 

http://youtu.be/ruNrdmjcNTc

 

www.jaytharding.com

 

Revolution Against Tyranny Part One: Warriors of the First Degree Chapter Twelve

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I was still reeling from the incident on the escalator, trying to wrap my mind around something that couldn’t be wrapped, and still monstrously dehydrated, sucking down water like a camel after a two week walk through the desert. I supplemented the water with shots from a Coke Icee, thus creating the anti-boiler maker, and did not see the biker until he sat down across from me and asked “Hey, weren’t you there today?”

He looked like something the cat had licked to death and then drug in. He was big all over, so big that he probably had to avoid booths lest he burst something. His grey hair reminded me of kudzu in the final stage of consuming a dilapidated house. His moon-shaped face was ringed with wild hair; the last six inches of his beard had been braided and kept by rubber bands. His large brown eyes were sharp and clear, and even in his disheveled state, he seemed more sane and lucid than I. He introduced himself as James from Louisiana who had gotten separated from the rest of his tribe and hoped they’d look for him here as this was the last place they had eaten before the ride.

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We began talking about the 2 Million Biker Ride. He and his tribe (this is what he called them, but upon searching the patches on his leather jacket could find no reference to Native America. He certainly did not look as such) went to the Fort Washington Harley Davidson rally, and this is where he saw me wandering around with my tablet. I told him I had gone on to the National Mall around eight thirty, and he replied “Man, you should have been there when we were ready to go! I’ve never seen anything like it before, and I’ve been to Sturgis! There HAD to be a million bikes there, dude! I was about a quarter mile ahead of the Harley shop and everywhere I looked there was nothin but bikes! The guys that had stereos were blastin them, and all together it sounded like the gates of Hell were being blown down!”

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He said they were herded by motorcycle cops (“made me feel like a fuckin sheep”), and when they started it was stop and go for a long time. “There were so many of us we couldn’t just all roll out at once. I’d go about twenty feet and had to stop, go another twenty, thirty feet and have to stop again. Nobody was bitchin about it, either. Finally, after maybe fifteen minutes or so I was able to keep rollin, at least for awhile. I didn’t know it til later when I stopped at the Wall (the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial) but the cops didn’t intend on takin us all through DC at once. Hell, they wanted us to just go around the loop like a buncha merry-go-round horses! Assholes. Just because we didn’t have a permit, they thought they could shut us down.”

I offered to get him a drink but he shook his head and hand, and that was when I noticed something I thought peculiar. He obviously wore gloves – the kind without fingers that strapped around the wrist with velcro and was meant to pad the palms – because with them off I could see how pale his knuckles and the bottom of the back of his hand was compared to the square of dark brown in the middle of his hand. Now that I had noticed it, I found it difficult to not look at his hands. He continued, “So here we were on the Beltway, and this is when I saw just how many there was of us. Dude, we stretched for miles and miles! The cops had two lanes of the highway open just for us, but even then, because of the sheer number of bikes, we had to creep and even stop from time to time. There were cops at the exits and all the turnarounds, you know, in the medium between going this way or that? I started seeing groups of bikers getting off on the exits, maybe twenty, thirty, fifty at a time. The cops didn’t stop ’em. How could they? That’s when I think I lost my tribe. I could see a few of them in the beginning, but with all the stop and go I lost track.

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Dude, as we went around the Beltway, more and more of us took off the exits. I thought about it a few times, because I thought it was bullshit what they were doing, but I didn’t know my way around here at all. If I’d taken one of them exits I’d probably still be lost! A whole bunch of us kept following the cops, but I could tell the herd was thinnin out some.

“I’d been ridin for about an hour and a half – it was just after noon – when this guy next to me on a Hog motioned for me to follow him. We were still in Maryland, I think. Yeah, ’cause we took an exit that said Silver Spring or something like that. There were no cops at that exit. When we stopped at a light the guy told me he knew how to get to the Wall from here and I figured ‘Cool, I’ve always wanted to see it’, even though I wasn’t in the war.” I asked him if he had served and he shook his head. “I wanted to, but when I was a dumb kid I jumped into a lake from a cliff and fucked up my spine. I was in a coma for awhile and couldn’t walk for a few months, but they operated on me to try and unblock the nerve and it worked.” He turned his head around, pulled his hair up and I could see a long, thick white scar on the back of his neck. My admiration of him did not falter.

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He went on. “We rode for awhile and then got on 16th Street, I think, and took it all the way to downtown DC. Man, I saw all kinds of big fancy embassies that reminded me of those fancy hotels! We finally made it to the Wall around one thirty or two, I’m not sure, and there were a few hundred bikes parked up and down the road. I saw all these cops on their little unicycle things and that was funny as hell seein them roaming around all the bikes and riders. There were a lot of dudes hangin around the Wall, touchin it and stuff. It was real quiet. I don’t know why but I started cryin, just like a little bitch! Man, I didn’t know anyone on the Wall, but it felt so heavy and sad there, like it was comin off the Wall itself. I couldn’t help myself, dude! I saw what looked like a cluster of soldiers facin the Wall, but they were surrounded by dudes, too, and when I got closer I saw it was a statue. That kinda freaked me out, cause it looked so REAL!

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“I hung round talkin to some of the other riders, hopin I’d find my tribe. Some dudes said cops had stopped them for no reason, sayin they were looking for contraband and shit. Other dudes said they didn’t bother goin to the Harley shop, they just rode straight in. Nobody had seen any Muslims, though, so I reckon we scared ’em off, buncha towelheads. More and more bikers kept showin up, and finally – I knew it was comin, it had to cause there were so many of us – the cops told us we had to leave because we were interferin with other people wanting to see the memorials, and we weren’t allowed to park where we were and a bunch of other bullshit. I figured it was time to go, so I rode my bike around downtown still lookin for my tribe. Eventually I started askin how to get back to the Harley shop, got directions, hung around there for awhile and then came here.”

We continued to talk about a wide range of things, and although I enjoyed James’ company, I felt the road home calling to me and we went our ways. I wonder if he felt the road calling him, too, and if he ever found his tribe.

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To be Continued…

 

First Photo Courtesy of Allin Gray

 

www.jaytharding.com

Revolution Against Tyranny Part One: Warriors of the First Degree Chapter Eleven

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Of all the people I had encountered since pulling out of my driveway early the previous morning, God had placed Mark in my life to spend the 12th anniversary of September 11. He had served six deployments overseas in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. I was afraid to ask if he had served anywhere else, lest he have to kill me. He spoke of those times off-handedly, without pride or an over inflated sense of accomplishment. I did not really appreciate the honor of being in this soldier’s company until days later when recuperating at home. I’m not really sure I have what it takes to comprehend the sacrifice he and so many others had made since our ancestors declared their independence from the British Empire over two centuries ago. When I take time to contemplate the true price of freedom, my mind can scarce take it in. I know my soul understands because the heart becomes so full of gratitude it overflows through my eyes. What other nation has sent its young men and women to the farthest reaches of the planet over and over again in the name of freedom against tyranny? We understand in the core of our being the words of Christ: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” All those who suffered under the oppression of despots, tyrants and dictators, all those who are denied their God given rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, all those who yearn to be free, THEY are our friends, THEY are our neighbors. The tragedy that took 3,000 lives on September 11, 2001 was because evil still existed, evil that despised freedom and the search of righteousness. We finally understood what so much of the world had been going through for so long. We had become citizens of the world in our grief and outrage, and finally realized that every American was now a soldier in the fight against the forces of darkness and hatred. Each and every one of us now had to be willing to lay down our life for our friends. In this context, Mark, myself and every lover of freedom were now deployed on the global stage, and we have to not only find the right weapon to fight with (our hands, our minds, our hearts, our words, our love), many of us must learn how to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11).

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Mark and I crossed Constitution and plodded west toward our transportation. It took every bit of effort on my part to keep up with his long strides, but like a good soldier I sucked it up and kept moving. Bikers still roared through the streets intermittently, filling the heat-packed air with an incessant growl. This day was not seceded to Muslims wanting only to cry about their rights being compromised. This day was not for anyone to complain about anything. There were 364 days of the year to do that. This day was to reflect and remember the precious lives that were brutally snuffed out twelve years ago, and to rededicate ourselves to making sure they had not died in vain. My body was on the cusp of collapsing and my mind was befuddled, but through the mist of my suffering I heard Cookie’s raspy voice: “My nephew was on the 103rd floor that day.” As long as there was breath in my body, as long as blood coursed through my veins, I would never forget his nephew, nor the other innocent victims trapped in the twin towers or their planes or the Pentagon, nor of the hundreds of first responders who gave their lives trying to save the lives of others. No, I would not forget September 11, 2001, not in all the days of my life.

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Eventually we parted ways. I thanked Mark profusely for the honor of his company and then watched as he walked on. He had given me strength enough to endure, but now I had to find it within myself if I ever hoped of making it back to my car and then to a few million gallons of ice water. I only had to ask two pedestrians how to get to the Reagan Building, and eventually stumbled into the Metro station. I stared at the map in my hands and the signs posted around the station and swayed as if listening to some sweet blues song as throngs of people buzzed around me. When I discovered where the train I needed was, I weaved my way there. At one point I came across an escalator that wasn’t working and began to ascend. I was grateful there were no others around because my going was slow. About halfway up my legs and arms started shaking with weakness, and I began to lose my grip and step, but a firm hand suddenly supported my back and proceeded to push me up. I thanked whoever it was, too afraid to take my eyes off my feet, and told them they couldn’t have timed that any better. My helper didn’t say a word but kept steady pressure on my back and supported me the rest of the way. Finally at the top, I turned around to face the Good Samaritan . . . and no one was there. I stood holding the top of the guard rail as the realization of this divine help struck my consciousness like a number 9 ball peen hammer. Had there been a bench or chair I’m sure I would have collapsed into it, but just the rushing sound of my train filled the cavernous station. I had to take my amazement and gratitude with me, although I wanted nothing more than to fall on my face, not from dehydration and heat exhaustion, but from absolute love for my Savior.

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The car I entered was almost empty, and I plopped into the first seat I could. The air was cool but I barely noticed, still in shock and awe. That unseen hand was on the hearts of all those who had lost their lives on 9/11, was on the hearts of every American that horrible day, telling us we were not alone, never had been and never will be. I bowed my head in absolute gratitude and worship.

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Eventually I arrived at the Metro station where my car was parked. I looked out over the sea of vehicles and completely forgot where I had parked my Focus, so I wandered through it until finding my car at last. Ah, the air conditioning was like a slice of Heaven! I let the cold slowly banish the thick heat emanating from my every pore. In time I drove out of the parking lot and searched for a store or gas station or restaurant that had water. My years of medical training  screamed at me that I was on the verge of heat stroke. It took every single bit of concentration to drive, but even then I recalled the hand on my back, and I found the strength to carry on. To my delight I soon found a Burger King. I practically crawled in and purchased a large drink and a Coke Icee, then proceeded to rehydrate. I didn’t notice the biker until he sat across from me and exclaimed “Hey, weren’t you there today?” My journey was certainly not over by a long shot.

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To be Continued…

 

Third and Last Photos Courtesy of Allin Gray

 

www.jaytharding.com

 

Revolution Against Tyranny Part One: Warriors of the First Degree Chapter Ten

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Had it not been for Mark I think I would have collapsed right there on that little triangle-sized oasis where Constitution Avenue, 3rd Street and Pennsylvania Avenue meet. I had been nursing my last bottle of water for the past half hour; it was hot and had a strange taste to it that I suspected was plastic leaching into it. Mark saved my life by simply being there and serving as both an anchor of normalcy and a failsafe had my stubbornness taken me too far. I refused to tell him I had stopped sweating, or that I was growing more and more confused, or that the ground under me had suddenly turned into a trampoline. I refused to tell him out of sheer obstinate pigheadedness. Had I not told him how I had endured the desert at White Sands, New Mexico? Had I not heard of his bravery in Kuwait, how he had voluntarily offered his life to preserve freedom and crush tyranny? Had our forefathers not probably stood in this very spot, twenty and thirty years our senior, on a day much like today, and watched the birth of a nation without the benefit of bottled water? My God, they carried primitive animal-skin pouches with them that leaked and made the water taste like goat testicles! Who was I to complain? Besides, imagine the trouble my collapsing would cause. While EMTs hooked me up to an IV a million bikers would be roaring past, thinking some weak-kneed Muslim had probably been deservedly shot. I would have come this whole way just to fail at the most crucial moment. Hell no! Heat stroke be damned! I would ride this crazy train all the way to the bottom before I gave up one moment of anticipation. After all, did I not want to do this gonzo-style? I hadn’t had to ingest any illegal substances to achieve this state of insanity. I wished I had worn longjohns and wool. Still, Mark’s cool demeanor and calm disposition was the Mecca of lucidity I would circumnavigate.

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It was half past noon and still no army of rolling thunder. I feverishly used my borrows tablet to film as much as I could, not realizing until much later that the sound recording capability of this device bordered on non-existent. The numbers of bikers riding together didn’t increase – they came in packs as small as two and really no larger than a dozen – but their frequency did. They rolled in from all directions, their deep-throated machines overriding the mundane sounds of traffic. This wasn’t a festive event, not at all. The riders all wore faces of serious determination, as if headed into battle. The occasional woman passenger held flags up as stoically as Lady Liberty held her torch. Had I been more cognizant, I would have realized that the bikers now outnumbered the other vehicles in traffic. The army was among us, just not all in regimented ranks.

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We heard sirens coming from the south on 3rd street, heard the unmistakable heavy growl of American-made motorcycle engines, and felt the ground tremble beneath our feet. Well, I had been feeling the ground shake under my feet for some time, partially from weakness and partially because the 3rd Street tunnel was just a few yards away to the east. Mark and I moved toward the sound and prepared to film the incoming horde. We spoke to each other in clipped bursts of expectancy. This had to be them.

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A Homeland Security van – perhaps even the same one I had seen in Fort Washington – sped around the corner from 3rd Street westbound to Constitution Avenue, followed by a couple of polished motorcycle cops riding side by side, and then came the bikers three wide and stretching beyond my line of sight. Touring bikes, choppers, trikes – every conceivable shape and size of motorcycle – followed the law in loose columns, revving their throttles as if straining to leap out of line. I did not count them, wasn’t really aware of anything else except keeping the tablet focused on them and not falling down. Up ahead a traffic light must have turned red because the battalion stopped momentarily, long enough for Mark to hustle out into the street into the midst of them for a photo. I thought about doing the same but decided that if I came out from under the protection of the shade it would be curtains for me.

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Then they began to move again, and the columns thinned down to two, and then became a single line that eventually morphed into a staccato of lone bikes. Mark estimated the count to be up to one hundred bikes, a mere fraction of the monstrous number we had anticipated. What had happened? I remember one biker saying he thought the police were checking everyone’s licenses and searching them for anything illegal. If that were the case it would take a Brigade of cops all day and night to go through two million bikes. Perhaps the bikers had been stopped and turned away. After all, they did not have a permit and could have been denied access to the National Mall as a single entity. Having driven a taxicab in that area decades ago, I knew there was no way anything short of a well organized army could effectively block all avenues to the Mall. However, if the bikers had somehow been broken up into small packs, it would not be surprising to have them coming from all directions as they were, like hornets that been stirred up. The streets of Washington DC were hopelessly confusing, also, so I imagined there would be riders literally everywhere, especially if they did not know their way around. Had the bikers been allowed to travel as one into the Capital, they would have literally brought it to a standstill.

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After the frequency of bikers returned to the sporadic lone wolf or two, I turned back to finish the rest of my water. I had laid my Jack bag (named after the bag Jack Baur carried with him on the TV thriller 24) on a large, square heating grill, and in my delirium I thought Mark had a bag as well, so when I saw only one bag I blurted out “Someone stole my stuff!” I took another few steps toward it and realized the bag was mine, and imagined Mark looking at me as if I were senile. We stood there for awhile watching the occasional motorcycle roar by and speculated. I secretly cheered and wept when Mark suggested we give up. We had yet to learn from the news and eyewitness accounts the actual reason why the event had not happened as planned. All I knew at the time was a mixture of disappointment, confusion and sadness, along with feverish anticipation of fresh, ice cold water and air conditioning. We trudged back toward Mark’s parking deck and my Metro station.

 

To Be Continued…

 

First Two and Last Two Photos Courtesy of Allin Gray

 

www.jaytharding.com

 

Following in Hitler’s Footsteps

My sister, Marty D’Arcy recently posted a sign on Google + that I found very disturbing. Here it is:

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At first I didn’t see the comparison. Didn’t want to, really. Not that I’ve ever been anywhere close to being a follower of Obama. I had just heard so many people and political parties being compared to Hitler and the Third Reich that I automatically hit the ‘snooze’ button. Also, I didn’t believe that half the population here in the U.S. blindly followed him. Well, ok, so maybe they did the first time he ran for President. But then he drove the dollar into the ground (blaming Bush the whole time) by bailing out everyone and their brother and sanctioning the Fed to crank out money from thin air, then sat back and watched as millions of Americans lost their jobs and went on the public teat in one way or another. After all, they were enslaved, right? Someone once said you don’t shoot Santa Claus, because who else would give you gifts?

But then I did a little digging, checked the facts of Hitler’s rise to power and compared it to Obama’s meteoric climb to the White House. What I found frightened the excrement out of me. You remember how the teacher would grade a multiple choice test by laying a special copy of the test that had all the correct answers punched with holes over the student’s test, and wherever there was a discrepancy, it was marked wrong. Well, Obama scores a perfect 100% when I place Hitler’s agenda over his. I found a website (you’ll learn this about me, I always cite my sources. That is so important in today’s world of info saturation) http://www.nowtheendbegins.com and within it a page where Hitler and Obama are compared. The site is Christian Conservative, so you’re not liable to find praise pieces on Nancy Pelosi. Here are some of the comparisons:

1. Both Hitler and Obama were great orators who spoke so passionately that people would break down in tears and faint. Even Chris Matthews had a thrill up his leg, whatever that is. Obama has the extra talent of altering his dialect depending on which audience is in front of him. I’m sure Hitler knew how to speak Low German as well as High German.

2. Both Hitler and Obama wrote autobiographies at the beginning of their rise to power. Hitler wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle) and Obama wrote Dreams of My Father. Both men then penned a second book laying out their goals. Hitler wrote A New World Order (I know, scary, huh?) and Obama wrote The Audacity of Hope. I think someone else wrote Obama’s books for him, though, but Hitler probably used a ghost writer also.

3. Both Hitler and Obama were born with last names which they changed later in life. Hitler’s original last name was Schicklebruber and Obama’s was Soetoro. I’d change my name, too, if it were Schicklebruber. Obama should have changed his last name to Soros, Jr.

4. Both Hitler and Obama tried to hide their true identities, but not because they were superheroes (although they would argue the point). Hitler had Jewish roots and Obama’s family is Muslim. Obama likes to pull out the Muslim card from time to time when he’s courting those heathen terrorists. Too bad he doesn’t treat terrorism like Hitler tried to deal with the Jews.

5. Both Hitler and Obama have supporters who support them 1000% without having a clue as to why. At least one lady had the courage to proclaim her love for Obama because he gave her an Obama phone. You can get one, too, if you want. I call them NSA GPS devices.

6. Hitler destroyed his birth certificate. We still have not seen Obama’s long form.

7. Both Hitler and Obama used the youth of the country to create a mini army devoted to their ideals. Obama’s is called the Obama Youth Brigade. Watch the YouTube video I just gave you the link to. Scary is too mild a word.

8. Both Hitler and Obama ruled with little to no regard for the will of the people. Obamacare? The people say “Nein!” Obama says “Too bad, get used to it!” You could paper the house with measures Obama took that were contrary to the will of the people. To him, Congress is irrelevant.

9. Both Hitler and Obama would rather not have any Jews on the planet. Obama always sides with Muslims (the Muslim Brotherhood, for example). He just doesn’t want to get his hands dirty. Not yet.

10. Both Hitler and Obama advocated murder to control the population. Obama supports abortion, even third term abortion. Snip snip, chop chop, one less mouth to feed. Makes me want to vomit.

There are more similarities on the website if you care to read it. Now I know that the quote on the sign above is right on target. Obama is weaving a web of lies and deceptions as his true nature hides in plain sight so that he may enslave the minds and bodies of the population. We are only one crises away from a police state. Look what happened in Boston, how troops stormed into peoples’ homes without warrants. They can do that in your home, too. Half the population believe Obama is the Messiah. I think he wants to usher in a New World Order, a perverted Fourth Reich, and believe it or not, I think it’s working. If I were you, I’d start hording my food and water, getting as many rounds of ammo as possible and digging in. An Obamanation is rolling through the country, and if you don’t join the growing chorus you’ll be labeled a subversive terrorist. He’s Hitler 2.0 without the goofy mustache. For now.

 

www.jaytharding.com

Revolution Against Tyranny Part One: Warriors of the First Degree Chapter Nine

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Mark’s smartphone told us it was 96 degrees; my dumb phone was too hot to say anything. As we walked east on Constitution Avenue toward the Capital and hopefully to the rally point, I realized I hadn’t brought near enough water. From time to time an errant gust of wind would float past us, offering perhaps a second or two of relief from the grueling, harsh sun. Mark was at least fifteen years younger and had no body fat to speak of, so he weathered the march (at least seemed to) much better than I. We didn’t encounter many pedestrians, which I thought odd. There were, however sporadic bikers rumbling past, and some even stopped and rested on the curb. We came across a couple of riders parked in front of the National Museum of American History (such irony) who had travelled from Illinois to be part of the event. They hadn’t attended the Fort Washington rally and had no idea where everyone was suppose to gather on the Mall. As Mark and I cooled our heels and chatted with them, a bicycle helmet-wearing police officer on a Segway whizzed up to us and told the riders they had to move. The guys waved their hands at the cop and said ‘Yeah, ok,’ then watched as the cop rolled to the next illegally parked vehicle. It was so ridiculous no one said a word about it. I imagined a standoff between Segway cops and Hog riders and chuckled to myself.

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Soon Mark and I continued on toward the Capital, stopping whenever we heard sirens or the deep-throated sound of bikes. We talked about our time in the military and what we had done since. Mark had an easy-going nature and was a good listener, which was perfect, because I loved to talk. We trudged past the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on the right. Across the street was the IRS building. I gave it a quick one fingered salute. Further on was the gargantuan Natural Gallery of Art, and then we came to an unusual intersection where 6th Street intersected Constitution as it hooked slightly north to join with Pennsylvania Avenue, forming a grassy triangular island in the middle surrounded by elm trees. It seemed like an oasis to me.

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It was now just after 11 A.M., and my understanding was that the ride would start at noon. We still saw bikers rolling down the wide streets, and I tried to capture them on video, not realizing until later that the tablet sucked at making videos. I cursed myself for the millionth time for not bringing my little Kodak but worked with what I had. We found another grassy traffic island as Constitution broke off again to run west of the Capital, which could be seen now.

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As we approached the final leg of our forced march (it had begun to feel like one – not as severe as the Bataan Death March, but in the same ball field), we came across some more bikers. We sat on the curb next to them and made sweat puddles with our butts. The biker closest to me was a real tough looking guy with his stone-faced look, sunglasses, gloves, leather vest and posture, leaning one arm against his Harley as if it were a horse. I asked him where he was from and he said Scranton, PA. I blurted out “Oh, that’s just a hop, skip and jump away!” The look he gave when he rolled his eyes at me reduced me to ash. I engaged his woman in conversation as she sat on the curb next to me, wearing more leather and patches than any three other guys. Her voice was deep and thick, as if from years of cigarettes and alcohol. I was so thirsty and hot I would have welcomed a stiff drink of anything.

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We rested there for almost half an hour, watching for the unseen Muslims and turning to look whenever a biker or more roared by. Eventually the fellow from Scranton and his small entourage moved on, following a group of about a dozen bikes. Mark and I continued to sit and sweat, and doubt our choice to come to the west lawn of the Capital. Noon came and went and still no army of motorcycles. It seemed that the bikers that were still rolling through had become squad sized, 10 or 12 at a time. Perhaps they had left Fort Washington at noon, and the sheer mass of them would take at least half an hour to get to us. For now, though, the little triangular oasis to our west beckoned me with promises of shade, and before long Mark and I decided that was going to be our final stand. It was still close enough to the Capital to see it, and it offered us a good view of Constitution Avenue all the way to the Washington Monument. It was the perfect place to see 2 million bikers invade and own the streets. We shuffled (at least I did – stumbled is more like it) back to the traffic island and waited with anticipation, continuing to take pictures as we went. The horde would be here any minute.

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To be Continued…

 

http://www.wnd.com/2013/09/2-million-bikers-roar-over-muslims-in-d-c/#ooid=dndGVmZToSwGAHiZN9WFwYx8eKAi1j-L

First and Last Two Photos Courtesy of Allin Gray

 

www.jaytharding.com

Revolution Against Tyranny Part One: Warriors of the First Degree Chapter Eight

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The Metro station was just a couple of miles away. I had wanted to stay and watch more of the opening ceremony but I had never been on the Metro transit system before and didn’t have a clue how long it would take or how close it would get me to the National Mall. I hadn’t driven the streets of DC in a quarter century, and really all I remembered was that it seemed the city’s avenues had to have been laid out by a drunken sailor. If you look at a map of Washington DC one of the first things that catches your eye is that the streets resemble the spokes of a wagon wheel. Try to drive through the city and you’ll discover how to curse in fourteen different languages. My only advantage was that I was going in on foot, which meant I could cut through courtyards if need be. How naive! Next time I’m taking a GPS, a map, a compass, a ball of string and bread crumbs.

The closest parking spot to the Metro Station was a half mile away (I kid you not). By the time I reached the station on foot I remembered the limitations of my congestive heart failure. The temperature at 10 A.M. had to be in the upper 80s already, and between toting the Jack bag with my electronics and water in it and the 100 pounds I had picked up since my heart attack, I was in the mood for love (loving me a hot shower and nap). A courteous Metro worker helped me get my ticket and told me how to use it, and I was off to the races. Before long I was in the bowels of a train car staring at all the sleepy, indifferent zombies around me. This mood was as different from the biker assembly as a funeral to a wedding (although some have tried to draw parallels), but the atoms in my body still vibrated to the throaty rumble of thousands upon thousands of motorcycles and despite my early fatigue I was completely jazzed to witness the blood-pumping thrill of all those machines and their riders rumbling through the Mall.

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One transfer and a half hour later I stepped out of the Metro cave and into the food court of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Had I been there as a tourist my awe would have started there: the surrounding buildings were easily two hundred feet tall and seemed to be crafted entirely out of marble. Doric columns larger than California sequoias followed the stupendously huge building as it formed a half circle. I looked down to see if the pavement was made of gold, for surely I had died and gone to heaven. What a fitting building for my favorite President.

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Being typically ill-prepared, I stared down at the only map I had of the area: the Metro station brochure. I determined which direction north was, prayed I was right and walked until I came to 14th Street. Good. My old cab driver senses and even older memory kicked in. To the right was Pershing Park and to the left was the National Mall. I fell in step with the well-dressed pedestrians carrying their briefcases and was soon at Constitution Avenue. I looked ahead and saw the Washington Monument surrounded in scaffolding. Even from this distance the monolith seemed enormous. I waited for the signal to cross (although I felt I could cross any street at any time and get away with it once – after all, I am Jay) and once on the edge of the Mall found a bench under a shady elm tree and parked my butt on it. Today was going to be a scorcher, and I scolded myself for not bringing more water.

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The now familiar sound of a Harley-Davidson rose to my ears and I looked to see a lone wolf on a beautiful Electra Glide rumbling down Constitution toward the distant Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. There had been talk among the riders in Fort Washington of a rally point in the Mall, but by the time I left there had not heard where it was. The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial was as good enough place as any to start, so I gathered my belongings to trudge west.

“Well, we meet again!” Mark walked up to me and shook my hand. He had been at the Harley-Davidson Dealership earlier that morning taking photos with a nice-looking Canon, and we had exchanged a few brief words around that stunning red Harley painted in tribute to the fallen firefighters of 9/11. He wore a white button up shirt, tan shorts and matching baseball cap (I would curse myself later for having on long blue jeans). His face was a little red from the sun and he seemed a bit frazzled around the edges. He explained that he had found room in a parking deck a few blocks away and had so far walked from the far side of the Washington Monument past the World War Two Memorial and over to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial looking for someone who knew where the rally point was. He said a truly crusty biker at the Vietnam Vet Memorial told him it would be somewhere between here and the Capital Building about a mile and a half further up Constitution Avenue. As we talked a few more bikers went by in a small group, but by the time I got my tablet out, turned it on and got ready they were long gone. I decided to keep the tablet in my hand from then on. We decided to walk toward the Capital together, but I warned him that I was out of shape, restricted by my congestive heart failure (and beta blocker – don’t think I mentioned that it kept my heart beating slow) and generally fat. Mark was ok with that (I hoped he wouldn’t soon regret it) and we were on our way.

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The sun blazed down upon us. My inner thermometer told me it was easily a zillion degrees, and after just a couple of blocks I started sipping on my water. I’m not sure if I offered any to Mark and if I didn’t I was a selfish, insensitive prick. He told me he had been in the first Gulf War, and we swapped desert stories. From time to time one, two or more bikers roared past us going in either direction, and we took pictures and short film clips of them. I kept one eye out for anyone dressed in traditional Muslim garb and saw none. We did witness a line of four men wearing tattered robes walking across the street while dragging life-sized wooden crosses. I had heard that among the many protests and rallies that day there was supposed to be a large group of Christians gathered to either counter the Muslims or pray for peace or protest Benghazi or any of the other eight dozen things the government had screwed up. It was now 11 A.M. as we marched to the Capital. The bikers were to be here in an hour, and I wanted to be in a good spot to witness it. I was glad Mark was with me. It was good to chat with a former veteran, especially on such a somber, historic day.

To be Continued…

First and Last Two Photos Courtesy of Allin Gray

www.jaytharding.com