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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Politics does not ride with me

An early morning and the road awaits...
The open, and non-partisan, American road…

As a motorcyclist, I understand the diversity of those who love two-wheeled enthusiasm on the open road.

Oops, let’s not forget those on three-wheels.  My wife has a Can Am and I admit enjoy taking it out once in a while.

While I don’t share some of the extreme views that appear to dominate some of the political leanings of those who, like me, prefer riding Harley-Davidson bikes, I recognize the diversity that makes America unique (most of the time).

Still, I clinched my fists and looked the other way when the organizers of Rolling Thunder, the annual gathering of thousands of bikers each Memorial Day weekend in Washington to recognize veterans who remain missing in action, fawned over a publicity-driven appearance by Sarah Palin, the bimbo of politics who almost single-handedly helped John McCain lose the Presidential election in 2008.

Palin, whose determination to cash in, even couldn’t finish her single term as Governor of Alaska, showed up, as I recall, on the back of a trike and acted — badly — like “one of us.”

Photo assignments this year prevented me from attending, and riding in, this year’s Rolling Thunder.  In retrospect, I’m glad I stayed in Southwestern Virginia because those with brain drain paraded Donald Trump on stage as “the man for bikers.”

Trump, the flamboyant, conniving and constantly-lying billionaire, will be the nominee for President by a Republican party gone mad.  I can say this with some experience as a former political operative who was paid an obscene amount lot of money by the GOP from 1981-87 in Washington.

I did it for the money, nothing more.  No grand illusions of “serving the country.”  No claims of patriotic virtue.  No such thing exists among political parties or their paid operatives.  We do it for the money and the trappings of power.

I walked away from politics in the mid 1980s, at the same time I walked into my first meeting of alcoholics anonymous.  In a few days, I will celebrate 22 years of sobriety as a recovering alcoholic and 22 years as a recovering paid political operative.

Part of my twin recoveries has also been anger management.  My temper brings on a blind rage, thankfully tempered now by age, experience and dedication to matters that do not bring on anger.

Successful anger management includes avoiding situations where one’s temper and outrages can be brought to the surface.  I’ve learned to walk away and avoid fights that serve no purpose.

I have supported Rolling Thunder since its inception, rode in the first eight events and several times again in recent years.  I hope to ride with fellow bikers in Washington again because I support the goals of Thunder.

But I will not make the annual journey to Washington in future years if the agenda in any of those rides includes pandering to the likes of Sarah Palin or Donald Trump.  Celebrating Memorial Day and the service of Veterans should be above the pettiness of politics.

If Thunder becomes just another tool of populist, celebrity-driven, political partisanship, I will choose to ride the open roads alone or with others who put America above partisanship.

My motorcycle helmets display a sticker on the back of each one:

“I am not a Democrat.  I am not a Republican.  I am an American. There is a difference.”



Copyright © 2016 Capitol Hill Blue

2 thoughts on “Politics does not ride with me”

  1. Of course Trump is pandering to vets in the most obscene way by bragging about giving money to veterans causes. Hillary actually has done things to help vets.

    Passed legislation helping families care for veterans with traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder. Hillary Clinton introduced the Heroes at Home Act of 2006 to help family members care for veterans that return home with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries.

    Worked to increase the survivor benefits for military families from $12,000 to $100,000. Hillary Clinton worked with Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate to try to increase the benefits to family survivors of our nation’s veterans. Clinton joined with then-Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) on the Military Survivor Benefit Improvement Act of 2005.

    Teamed up with Republicans to expand health care for National Guard members and reservists. Hillary Clinton worked with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to provide full military health benefits to National Guard members and reservists.

    Authored a new G.I. Bill of Rights to help veterans adjust and re-enter the workforce after deployment. Hillary Clinton introduced the 21st Century G.I. Bill of Rights to help veterans achieve their American dream through educational opportunities, a new veteran-specific micro-loan program, and an expanded home loan program.

    Fought to expand retirement pay and disability compensation for veterans disabled during their service. Hillary Clinton cosponsored the Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2007.

    Expanded the Family and Medical Leave Act to families of wounded service members. The defense authorization bill enacted in 2008 included legislation introduced by Senator Chris Dodd and Senator Clinton

    Hillary Clinton and her family donated $105,000 to veterans’ organizations from 2006 to 2012, her campaign said on Wednesday… (NY Times) – not wanting to do the math, but as a percentage of net worth that might be even more than Trump’s million.

  2. “I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am an American. There is a difference.”

    I am a Vet. I am an American

    Good article Doug.

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