Give me liberty or give me death” were powerful words spoken by Patrick Henry, one of the founding fathers of this great nation. It was this closing line in a speech he made to the Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, that would move the people to throw their hats and troops into the Revolutionary War. The final paragraph sums up not only the feelings that Henry had in regards to the treatment from England at the time but also invoked some form of realization about where we stand today as a country, as patriots, and the chains we bare.
“The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Now I know that many of you look to this part of the magazine each month for an uplifting antidote about my past or observations but this month, I must go serious on you. We, the people, are in deep shit, and it’s up to us to grab a shovel and start digging our way out. Today our country stands on the edge of becoming a second rate nation. What once was the leader of the free world, the center of industry and the birth place of hard work and ingenuity, has simply slipped off the map into a place where everyday lower prices rule and complacency is king. Now this is not the place where I will try and shove blame on one group or another for where we are as far as American manufacturing since that’s being done to death. What I will tell you is that the motorcycle industry, our culture and our way of life is facing change that may be irreversible. We’ve come full circle from mom and pop shops, to the huge box stores and all the way back to mom and pop once again. However, the difference is that neither mom nor pop make our parts anymore. Instead, just like so many other industries in the United States, they are simple servants to the great tidal wave of foreign made products. They rush our shores, take our jobs and ultimately lower the standard of what we do. We’re now getting sub standard parts, less choices and absolutely no product support whatsoever.
The problem with this is so evident when you consider a simple trip to almost any store today. Ask a question and get nothing in return whether they have what you want or not. Gone are the days where our centers of retail were filled with knowledgeable individuals who spent a lifetime knowing their products and their use. But what’s worse is that you seriously have very little choice anymore in stopping this trend by selecting an American made product. While we’ve been caught up in the whole three cars, big home bit, THEY have slipped in and pulled a fast one. Our industry is gone: furniture from the south, cars from Detroit, clothes from New York, all gone now and being sold to us from overseas. Now, instead of a factory job here, the best most of us can hope for is to start our own business and take care of our families, but to what end? Try and compete with lofty “Buy American” ideals and there’s a slew of cats ready to cut your throat to take the business away from you. What’s worse still is the proposition of flipping burgers, waiting tables or the much dreaded “Wally World” jobs that are waiting for us just in case we tap out and give up the good fight.
Now I’m not saying that this is how it has to be; it’s simply the way we have let it become. My grandfather was a good man, as I have written so many times before, but that was a different generation. Yes, there were still many products that came in from other countries but we put American jobs first back then. Today the moral standard to take care of our own is gone. Corporations report record profits while we suffer more each month. They tax the hell out of us and take more of our freedom away every time they make a new plan to bring the economy around, putting the cost of it all square on the shoulders of the blue collar worker. Look around today and you can see the byproduct in your community. There are less family values and people don’t trust each other anymore. They’re all tired from this long, brutal fight to keep their heads above water. It would seem that Americans have given up the will to fight, or have we? While it may do little to change foreign policy regarding trade, our leaders have brought down one of the most diabolic terrorists in history this month and in doing so, showed Saudi Arabia and the world that we’ve had enough. In one fail swoop we have announced that we will not go silently into that good night… we will rage at the leaving of the light!
In celebration of this great day and our country’s independence that will be celebrated in the month ahead, we humbly offer an entire issue filled with “Buy American” spirit and information. Many of our advertisers come from the fabric I spoke of above and have made a commitment to keeping our jobs here by building their parts within our borders. To these true patriots we can only say thank you on behalf of not only motorcycle riders but your countrymen.