So it's been about two weeks now since I posted my last blog - in the "travel log" format. And, I've been thinking, I need to keep doing that for the benefit of those who are following the physical journey I am on right now. I will still take a moment here to acknowledge my hosts over the last few stops:
Brent, Christy and their neighbors and friends in Clifton, Texas
Andy, Lisa and their children in Woodway, Texas
Mother Neff State Park, near Moody, Texas
And Wayne and Ann in Belton, Texas
And Sherry and Miss Kitty and Roger the Bearded Dragon Lizard in Georgetown, Texas:
I am Very Grateful to all of these people who have been so supportive of my efforts thus far. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
In between, there were more hills, more heat, more long stretches of open roads and landscapes, (and cows and horses), picnic areas and much sought after shady spots, a Really Scary transit of the Waco Lake bridge (sorry, too scary for pictures), and a not so scary transit of a much more welcoming bridge over Belton Lake. In fact, "Bell County" was Very Good to Me! That's where the chip-and-seal stopped and the smooth pavement began and I was Oh, So Grateful for that transition (not to mention my hosts' saltwater swimming pool waiting for me to cool off in as soon as I arrived!)
Now I'm going to shift to My Mission: To Promote Peace and Cool Heads!
During my stops I have been able to keep up with what has been "going on in the world" mostly from the posts I see from my friends on Facebook. And, as it turns out, I have friends from across the political spectrum so I get a pretty broad range of perspectives on most of what is "making the news", from the overthrow of Morsi in Egypt with a combined public and military force, to the fact that Obama just signed a new Executive Order that appears to give the President and the Federal Government the authority to control all communications systems in times of emergency.
And then, there's Adam Kokesh, loading a shot-gun near the Capital Building in Washington, D.C. (And people wonder why the President and all of his men think they might NEED control of all of our communications systems at some point in the future!)
I would offer that there has been no greater time in our history as a country when the call for the voices of Non-Violent resolutions to our problems need to be heard.
People like Adam Kokesh and his ilk have a very myopic view of our revolutionary past. In fact, I am guessing that many people have failed to make the connection between small revolutionary movements that were successful in their day because they had the Support of Other Powerful militaries. For instance, the American Revolutionary War was won in part because of the support we received From the French, who were a Powerful Military in their own right and had grudges of their own against the British. This is something I've learned from reading Paul K. Chappell's book, The Art of Waging Peace.
So who's backing the revolutionaries or potential revolutionaries in THIS country? Or "might" back them at some point in the future? Even if there are Al-Qaeda based supporters (who, of course, would also love to see this country decline into civil war), even THEY are Not That Powerful! They can do a lot of damage, but they could never win a "war" with the U.S.
Folks, we are NOT living in the days of our Forefathers! Has anyone noticed that, for the most part, there are no major conflicts in Europe anymore. Yes, there's some angst over who owes whom what, but nobody's in the business of massing armies against one another. Frankly, the Germans are too busy building solar panels!
And as far as the shift of power in Egypt and what brought millions of people into the streets: No Electricity! And yes, deprive the people of this country of their Oh, So Precious electricity for long-enough and we would all be in the streets as well - but do you really think that is going to happen here any time soon?
My point is some people, like Adam Kokesh, might be looking for "history to repeat itself" and for there to be a "Final American Revolution" here, but there are so many other factors involved in this day and age that, practically speaking, history CANNOT "repeat itself". And if anything, we'd just be doing the same WRONG, VIOLENT thing over again and expecting Different Results then what we have already ended up with now, over 200 years from the "Original American Revolution". If That revolution was So Great, then how have we still managed to end up, presumably, right back where we started from? Think about that.
Something else I learned from reading Paul K. Chappell's books: When two countries "face off" against one another, unlike animals in the wild, there is Nowhere to Run once the "warning aggression" or "posturing" starts. Most animals of the same species, in the wild, will figure out "Who's the Boss" simply through warning aggression and then the one who realizes it is "Not the Boss" runs away. But you get people confined within bordered countries or territories and once the "posturing", once the "warning aggression" starts, there is nowhere to run-away from it. In this case, it is like two lions in a cage and warning aggression almost always leads to direct and violent confrontation.
Consequently, anyone who is currently threatening our government with violence is POSTURING! And the fact that we are seeing more and more reports of police shootings and use of extreme force in situations that do not seem to call for it, and when we see the President(s), signing executive orders that give them more power "in cases of emergency", that is "posturing" as well. And there is a very good chance all of this "posturing" will escalate if those who are wiser do not step up and make clear what the potentially devastating consequences could be.
Again, We Are Not Living In the Time of Our Forefathers! The present may look similar to what it looked like in the past, but it is Not exactly the same. We have Other Means at our disposal, other ways that we can approach our conflicts and resolve our problems and communicate more effectively with one another and We Need to Take Full Advantage of Those. And, as I have been doing through this whole journey thus far, I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend to Everyone, if you have not gotten a copy of Paul K. Chappell's book, The Art of Waging Peace", then Please, for the sake of this country and your loved ones, Buy a Copy and Read It. And then stand up to anyone you may know that thinks the only way we can resolve our current problems in this country is through violence, because, they Are Wrong, and if they continue to pursue that course, they and many, many other people will end up being Wrong and DEAD!
And that is why I am suffering the heat, and struggling up the hills, and communicating wherever I can because I Get That! And I would hate to see any of my family, any of my old friends, or new friends, or their children, or their relatives or their friends Dead for No Good Reason! We made some progress with our Revolutionary War, but more progress was made towards the protection of human rights Non-Violently AFTER the war then were made because of it. And that is something else I have been reminded of by reading Paul K. Chappell's books. So, I ask again, that all of my readers and friends do the same.
Pedaling for Peace
On April 15, 2012 I started riding my bicycle cross-country from Jacksonville, Florida in voluntary support of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) and the work of author and Peace Leadership Director for the NAPF, Paul K. Chappell. By July 4th, I had covered over 1300 miles to just west of Luling, Texas where a major mechanical failure brought this first stage of my cross-country journey to an end. After storing my bicycle and trailer with my aunt and uncle in Weatherford, Texas, I flew from Dallas to Santa Barbara, California to attend the NAPF First Annual Peace Leadership Summer Workshop. I then lived and worked in Santa Barbara for several more months before I returned to Jacksonville and sold off the rest of my possessions that I could to help fund a continuation of my journey. Starting June 8, 2013 and ending August 9, 2013, I rode from Weatherford, through 400 miles of the central Texas hill country, including Austin, Texas, back to Luling. It was at this point that a friend of mine invited me to work for a brief period in Pennsylvania before flying me back to Santa Barbara where I continued volunteering for the NAPF as well as for the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition. As of August 9th, 2014 I began"Stage III" of my cross-country adventure, this time heading south from Santa Barbara to San Diego and then east to El Paso, TX. It was there that illness, winter weather, and diminishing resources brought that leg of my journey to an end. After staying with another friend in Columbus, GA for several months, I moved "back home" to Kentucky to stay with my dad for a while and build a better "resource base" for future endeavors including review and further tracking and primitive survival skills training at Tom Brown, Jr's Tracker School , and a possible longer tour of the east coast, northern tier, and north west coast back down to Santa Barbara, CA.