Reflections of 1996 and the future
by Tony Pan Sanfelipo(December 1996)
Looking back briefly at 1996, one wonders if we can expect nearly as many successes as failures in 1997. We accomplished some hefty goals in defeating a federal attempted helmet mandate. The grass roots lobby was extremely successful, thanks to the coordinating efforts of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) and the participating motorcycle rights organizations (MRO's).
A disturbing fact remains that we assumed the more "politically correct" road of opting for 21-and-under modification bills in states attempting some sort of repeal of their existing helmet law. In our view, that was a huge mistake. That is not to say that BOLT is right, and all others are wrong. That is just to assert what BOLT believes.
Sadly, many MRO's today are afraid of expressing civil disobedience in the form of refusal to wear helmets, or first amendment protections of free speech like helmet burnings. It might seem antiquated to some leaders, a remnant of the past which would not work today. But those freedom fighters who taught us to resist these unwholesome and unwanted laws had a hell of a lot better record at repeal than any of the present day organizations. I can't believe things that worked then, somehow, by some mystical fluke, would not apply today.
Then there's the problem of so called "freedom rallies", where freedom is the theme, but not everyone is free to attend, or even welcome. California ABATE and the MMA need to do some real soul searching to try and figure out how to do these rallies properly. Limiting free speech expressions by individuals in the crowd, in the name of controlling wanton acts of vandalism or destruction of private property, is leaning a little bit than more toward making excuses for controlling everything. A display of how distasteful these laws are to us might just be what some of these tunnel vision legislators need to get the point across.
While on the subject of "political correctness", let me plagiarize a bumper sticker, available from Sierra Supply of Durango, Colorado. It sums up my personal political feelings dealing with life style, race, choice, freedom of religion and the environmental control freaks out there.
Here it is:PROUD TO BE... Politically Incorrect, Straight, White, Pro-Life, Christian, and of the opinon the Spotted Owl tastes like chicken.
I'm also personally proud to be a "rude motherfucker", as one leader painted BOLT people, since I know that I'm only intentionally rude to those who have demonstrated that they deserve no better.
All this may not be in line with how you feel, but then the nature of freedom in America allows us to be different, as compared to some so called rights organizations working for the good of "all motorcyclists"???
These are my personal opinions, and not meant to infer that all BOLT members are as cantankerous, unyielding, stubborn, intolerant of stupidity and sick of the personal egos and infighting in today's motorcycle rights groups as me, but I hope so.