I am not a rebel
The Cycling Dude referred me to the following post by The Damn Cyclist. Fritz also weighed in on the post's comments section. I took a look and liked it as well. Given such a clear Biker Seal of Approval for what is a truly independent voice among us bikers, I decided to post it along with my own comments in red.
I'm not a rebel. I'm listening to talk radio yesterday and I hear something that drives me nuts every time. I'm sure you've all heard the argument - having our cars is what makes us American. It's a popular right-wing notion, so much so that even in the middle of a war who's most obvious benefit will be protecting our access to middle-eastern oil, people still say it without irony.
I think BOTH the left and right in this country miss the point of the war. We did it neither for oil nor democracy. On the one hand, a truly democratic set of elections in Iraq would elect the very enemies our administration is now fighting. On the other, the left, being none too comfortable with basic economics, ignores the fact that oil does no one any good in the ground. Eventually, the "owners" have to sell it. And in the end, you sell to the biggest customers ... US.
The Bushies invaded Iraq because they wanted to prove they (and by extension, the US) could and would do it. Just like oil in the ground, military power won't get you anywhere unless you put boots on the ground especially when you say you're going do it. Didn't Chairman Mao say something about "Paper Tigers" once?
And, those of us that choose not to utilize cars, be it for their gas-guzzling, or greenhouse-gas-belching, because they're too expensive or just because riding in cars is boring and anti-social; we're routinely classified as unAmerican, rebellious, or simply faggots.
What could be more American than relying on yourself to get somewhere fast and as cheaply as possible?
And while I'm sure this note will do no more than ring true to a few sympathetic ears and fall on the deaf ears of the masses, it must be said: I'm not a faggot. I'm not particularly rebellious. And I love apple pie.
Not that there's anything wrong with that %) But seriously, there's a big difference between how politically diverse the bike community actually is and what a few loud (and often obnoxiously progressive) voices tend to declare how diverse it is.
Heck, that's one of the reasons I ride a bike. At the end of the day when I'm pulling my bike into my garage and wiping the sweat from my brow, I can rest comfortably knowing that my trip to-and-from work didn't contribute to global warming. And the soldiers that are dying in Iraq are not doing so to protect MY ability to drive a hummer without having to shell out $7.00 a gallon for gas.
Unfortunately, they are dying to protect my ability to but food, drink beer, and order NOS bike parts/accessories on Ebay. And that's the big, bad dilemma...
Sure I use electricity that comes from oil - but as soon as I have a feasible alternative I'm there. Yeah, this is the country that cars built. It's also fattest country on the planet. Coincidence? North America also claims the highest cancer rates in the world. Could it be???
It isn't necessarily the amount of food that's fattening us up. It's the quality. And for the first time in history the rich are typically thinner than the poor. It's obscene that to eat healthy, Americans must pay top dollar.
Here's the kicker: I don't care if you drive your car. Frankly I'm not expecting much to change in my lifetime. But what I would like to be able to do is ride my bike without you telling me I'm an unAmerican, faggot, rebel. Oh yeah, and get off your phone, put down the make-up and pay attention! I'm a person. I have a family. I don't want to die just so that you can read the newspaper while you drive.
I'm not anti-car. I AM pro-choice. Give ordinary people enough affordable options and they'll choose what's in their best interests.