Chris Callen, Chief Editor of grass roots magazine Cycle Source and leader of the movement for a “Generational Remake Of The Motorcycle Business”, has a new rant about the lack of patriotism of many of his countrymen. Both of us hope that you readers, either living here in the US or abroad, will comment about patiotism in your own country.
“Cyril my man, I know that your site is an international forum so I will ask those from outside the USA to bear with me for just a minute. I just got back from a trip to Canada for a few days to meet with some business contacts and it was a good excuse to take a ride. During my time there I was literally amazed at these people and their sense of patriotism. Now I’m not sure but I don’t think it was any particular holiday for their country but everywhere I looked I saw the maple leaf flag proudly displayed. This wasn’t just on office or government buildings but on cars, bikes, their homes even their persons carried the pride of their country. I was so taken with this pride that I decided to buy a maple leaf flag to ride back into the USA with, where I had planned to buy an identical American flag to run as well for the final leg.
As I got back to the border towns around Buffalo New York, I was surprised that I could not find an American flag, like the kind that mounts to the window of a car. Now I looked in truck stops, gas stations, convenient stores and even went off the highway to look in department stores all to no avail. Now I did find the occasional flag sticker, flag magnet and plenty of sports team car flags but not a single American flag. Closer to home (Pittsburgh) I started to find small amounts of full size flags and poles for your house, but mostly store managers would simply look at me oddly and say that it was way too early for their flags to come in as this has become a seasonal item. A seasonal item……. I can’t even tell you how hard it was for me to hear how the symbol of our country’s pride and freedom has become an item that is graded on its profit or loss during any particular season.
It’s funny to me how just after 9-11 every home in our country had an American flag in the window but now in my own neighborhood I can only count about 17 out of hundreds of homes. Have we lost our way as Americans? Have we forgotten the price that has been paid or that men and women sit, right now, on foreign soil in the name of protecting our way of life? No wonder why we have become so complacent in other matters of nationality in the US, like our pride in a good hard days work, our right to a just government and a solid manufacturing base. We have sat ideally by and rarely uttered a word as big business and special interest have sold the whole foundation of what our country has been built on, out from under us. We have, in an attempt to become international, a people without a country. I wonder what any of our founding fathers would say today if they could see the conditions we have allowed this great country come to. Would they understand our complacency or would they call for our execution as traitors?
So what does this have to do with motorcycling? Well, only this, I did finally find that American flag to display my pride in this country and I found it a Gatto Harley-Davidson, a dealership near my home. This is part of their regular stock and while it might seem hokey to ride around with an American flag on your bike like you’re in a parade, maybe bikers are the last hope for our country, maybe we’re the only ones who get what freedom really means and the obligation that comes with it. Since many among us have been in the service I suspect this to be true.
Cyril, I have learned a valuable lesson about patriotism through this ordeal, and one that I just wanted to remind your readers from this country and abroad, freedom needs eternal vigilance. So maybe this little rant will have an affect on some of my countrymen, maybe it won’t but until we start to stand up and be proud of who we are, our jobs, our industry, our government and our ideals all slip away from us. Anyone who wants to discuss this with my further is welcome to approach me at any time, you’ll know it’s me, I’ll be the one with the American flag on my bike.” Chris Callen, Cycle Source Magazine.