Greetings everyone from the Aloft Hotel in Tallahassee, FL, home of the college football BCS Champions, the Florida State Seminoles.
We had a heavy escort in Austin, TX, and in New Orleans the city PD and the State Troopers escorted us. Heck, the State Troopers took us all the way to the Louisiana state line. However, we Florida riders were embarrassed when there was no police escort provided for our riders as we exited I-10 at Monroe St. No worries, we obeyed the law and the convoy of over 150 bikes made it safely to the hotel. Sad day for the Tallahassee PD in not supporting this charity ride.
It was a really nice ride from New Orleans to Tallahassee. It took three days to cover Texas, but in one day we went through four states. We did finally hit a rain band and for about 45 minutes it was hairy, but we all read the forecast and most of us had our rain gear on for the short deluge.
We had two nice stops: one in Daphne, AL, and the other in Bonifay, FL. Once again, lots of great folks came out to wish us well — and there were kids who had attended Victory Junction Camp.
While in New Orleans, I went for an invigorating 5 mile run along the river walk of the Mississippi, ending at the backside of the French quarter. As I ran, I thought of the Battle of New Orleans from the War of 1812. As I went, I hummed the first stanza and refrain of the song “Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Driftwood:
In 1814 we took a little tripWe fired our guns an’ the British kept a’comin’.
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon an’ we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British near the town of New Orleans.
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more an’ they began to runnin’
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.
You can enjoy the full song and video here.
Even though the actual War of 1812 was over, it did not stop the assembled army and citizens of New Orleans from an astounding victory over the British, under the leadership of a Tennessean (had to get that in there) and future president, General Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson. Today, the Democrat party has their annual dinner they call Jefferson-Jackson. Doubt “Old Hickory” would have anything to do with today’s Democrat party. Jackson faced the enemy and led his group to victory. He turned back the redcoat tide.
In 2005, another wave came ashore in New Orleans. I was in Afghanistan when Hurricane Katrina hit South Florida as a Category 1 hurricane before it traversed the peninsula and entered the Gulf of Mexico, becoming a killer storm. As we departed New Orleans today, I could see still some remnant effects of that storm, but New Orleans has recovered.
What I want to discuss as a theme, though, is “Empowerment and Victory vs. Enslavement and Victimization.”
I do not think any of us will forget the pictures of residents sitting atop their homes in New Orleans awaiting rescue, or the parking lot full of school buses underwater. How could that have happened?
General Jackson arrived in New Orleans and took charge of the situation, organizing various groups into cohesive units — and led them to victory. He empowered them to make a stand and fight for their freedom and their city.
So what happened 191 years later?
What happened, in the beginning, was a lack of principled, resolute local leadership. Matter of fact, I believe the infamous Mayor Ray Nagin fled to Houston — so much for leading by example. But how was it that the rugged American individualism and American energy failed in the face of that adverse situation? It’s simple. Citizens had become conditioned to be dependent, not independent. There was no vision, no strategy. The people had become victims, enslaved to a government system that basically tried to meet all their wants. They failed to realize that the greatest need is self-preservation, and so, there they sat.
I will not forget Army Lieutenant General Russ Honore (dubbed the “Category 5 General” by the press) coming in to take over the situation in New Orleans and referring to a reporter as being “stuck on stupid.” I don’t want to see America continue to move away from individual empowerment. Americans need to be victors. Instead of empowering, we are enslaving Americans to the bureaucratic welfare nanny-state and the ever expanding dependency society — making victims. The real lesson from Hurricane Katrina is not about the reaction from local, state, or federal government officials. The real lesson is learning why we had Americans who simply sat and did nothing. We cannot allow more of our inner cities to become engulfed in a morass of victimization and abject hopelessness.
The story of America is the story of a nation of simple men and women who overcame all odds. That must be our legacy, our lineage, the DNA, the genetic code that we pass on to subsequent generations.
I have grown disgusted with the game of political elites, mainly liberal progressive socialists, who use the false emotional argument of “caring” in order to turn our citizens into submissive subjects.
The legacy of the City of New Orleans was established by General Jackson in 1814. That prideful lesson must not be forgotten. Growing up in Atlanta, we knew about the Civil War and General Sherman’s burning of Atlanta (to the ground), yet we were taught about the seal of Atlanta with the phoenix rising out of the flames. Wonder if they still teach that today?
Let’s make victors, not victims. We need to reject the political message of defeatism that enslaves collective groups as it destroys the indomitable individual spirit. Let’s all take that trip down the mighty Mississip and turn back our own personal redcoats. Victory America!
Steadfast and Loyal!