Monday, October 22, 2007

No Compromise, No Surrender

Recently I posted on Bruce-n-Ray Biker Forum that I was in full support of MADD Ray Henke, who declared "no compromise, no surrender" in response to the Delray Beach biker ban fiasco.

Read Ray's post here.

Ray replied that my words defined a "fire" that he and many others believe the legendary Quig instilled in many bikers today.

Although my fire was lit months before I knew who Quig was, perhaps this is true in the reasoning behind Quig's lifelong fight against biker discrimination and the right to ride free.

I really don't know what initially fueled this passion in me. Perhaps it was the sudden and conclusive realization that law makers didn't really care about stopping the frequent "murders" of bikers by distracted drivers, but instead insists on forcing helmet laws. Perhaps it was just the idea that government continually tells me what I can and can't do without just cause, as in so many other piddly laws that get shoved down my throat without my consent.

Perhaps it is because I live in a country where we often hear the words, "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave", which I know I have to fight for every day.

I am a passionate woman, in most things I do, and believe in. Freedom is a hard won option in life. If you don't fight for it, and fight hard, you will lose it. It's not going to always be there for you just because it says so in our Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem. To believe so is naive at best.

I've been told that because I have red hair, my temper is one to avoid, and perhaps that is true on occasion (however, I doubt the red hair has anything to do with it since it is actually very gray underneath the Ms. Clairol). Most times I think my anger, or passion, is justified, for it is truly rare for me to be fired up about trivial things. I have some basic rights that spark my temper on occasion; such as the right to free speech, the right to fair and honest service for those I pay for, and the right to be treated with dignity and respect as a human being. I don't view those rights as trivial. Freedom is not trivial by any sense of the word and I will fight for it as long as I breathe, red hair or not.

History is full of men and women who were "fired up" about their potential loss of freedom.

Joan of Arc led French soldiers into battle to defeat the English. The English were convinced she was supernatural because she rallied a second time in spite of being wounded. Joan was not supernatural - Joan was fired up. She fought for freedom.

Bunker Hill pitted common farmers against trained military and sparked a war that won America its freedom from British oppression. Were they more disciplined than the British soldiers and thus knew they would win? No. They were fired up. They had much to gain, but even more to lose; their freedom.

I could go on, but you know where I'm going with this. We have to be fired up about all the injustice going on against bikers. Delray Beach wants to ban bikers from their restaurant row on Atlantic Avenue because a few restaurants decided to put tables outside, right next to the road. Diners want a peaceful meal.

Wait, isn't eating out at restaurant a lifestyle choice, just as riding my motorcycle is? You have the right to choose where you eat based on the food, service, and/or ambiance, and the government does not tax you on the maintenance of those restaurants, while I do pay for the maintenance of those roads. So I say, diners, find another restaurant, or go home and eat, for your personal demands infringe upon my personal freedom! I don't tell you what your rights are because I don't like what you drive, what you wear while driving it, or what it sounds like.

This focus is not on all the noise on this stretch of road either, but just bikers. Though, they would have you believe otherwise. Does that fire you up? It's clear discrimination. Do these restaurants (and diners) focus on the noise a local train makes? Other vehicles? No. They know they'd lose that battle. How about now, fired up yet?

They focus on bikers because they dislike us, as a group, and because IT IS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN. Why is that, do you think? I'll tell you why. Because the majority of bikers are complacent in their comfortable existence and won't get involved. "I don't go to that city", or "I'll just ride a stock bike", they say. It's always someone else's fault, or "I can't get involved because of my job", is another one I hear, but many fight anonymously. Shall I go on?

Because of a Call-To-Action at the last minute, the city commissioners were inundated with emails and letters of protest against this ban. A small number of bikers rallied to the city meeting (and I say small because, given the number of bikers in the local vicinity, it was a paltry number). A small victory was won that day, as the commissioners voted to table the ban for now. What might have happened if ALL of us were sitting home snug in our complacency, waiting for others to take action???

This war is not over folks. Delray Beach's solution now is to implement a severe noise ordinance. This means that I, with my after-market pipes, which are not noisy at all, will be targeted. Law enforcement in Delray Beach will, with no scientific justification, pick us off one at a time and issue outrageous fines for perceived noise, while ignoring the other sources of noise also present on this Avenue.

Yes, we won this first round, because enough bikers rallied together to fight it. Now we must regroup, discuss a new strategy, and attack again before they can gain a foothold. We must not waffle on this issue!

But wait, now I'm hearing voices in the wind, crying "compromise, compromise!".

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

What this says to me is, "Gosh, you were so nice to drop the [illegal] ban of bikers on Atlantic Avenue, I'll just give up a small portion of my rights in return".

As Ray Henke says, "I spit". Except, I'll go further and say, I spit ON YOU for even suggesting such a thing.

NO WAY should we compromise and allow this to happen! In doing so, we invite every city in the country with roadside restaurants (or any other perceived reason) to follow suit. We invite law enforcement to indiscriminately target us and collect huge fines for sound that is part of our heritage. And our right!

Can they differentiate between those who truly are in violation? No. They don't have the expertise or equipment to do so. Therefore I say to you now, do not compromise on this issue. it is unlawful and still very much discriminatory. If this law is passed, many of us will pay the price to restore our freedom, while filling the coffers of this small bigoted town. Will you be willing to fund my court costs?

Do we, as bikers, want our right to ride where we choose severely limited? While those with boom boxes in their cars go thumping merrily down the road wherever they choose? And so diners can sit on a busy road and not have to see or hear bikers on it? What about the "bad biker" image this law substantiates if successfully passed? That all bikers are a nuisance and should be "under the control" of others?

I know I don't fall into that category. And I won't allow this to violate my freedom to ride wherever I choose, after-market pipes or not. If I am ticketed and fined in Delray Beach for my after market-pipes on my otherwise stock Harley, I will fight it. And I will win. My video camera will be running, and I WILL ride wherever I please. Bring it on!

I will protest the unlawful search and seizure should they touch my bike, or shove a night stick up my pipes. I will demand to know how they've determined my bike is too loud. I will have witnesses. And I will win. I still hope it does not have to come to that. And when things get tough, I'll just keep fighting, and look up to the sky and give Quig the "thumb's up".

I may be a woman, but I still have the "cajones" to fight for my freedom. Do you?

Fight for the right to ride free, or get off your bike and sell it to someone who cares enough to join me.

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