Category: Blog

Who Are You?

Who Are You?

Original post at deltabravocharlie.com

While catching up on a podcast of Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk,” I heard Tom say this in the last minute of Hour 3: “You don’t like his tweets?…You’re going to give up your gun rights over tweets? That says a lot about YOU.” It’s a great point, and worth discussing.

So what exactly does that say about you? What I heard was Tom suggesting that it says you’re the kind of person who would sacrifice the Second Amendment over something as unimportant as some rude comments and tweets. It says you’re the kind of person who is so sensitive to the President’s commentary that you are willing to either vote for Joe Biden, vote third party, or sit out the election (kind of the same as voting third party). It says that that you are the kind of person who values a president who “acts presidential” even more than you value protecting the Second Amendment. I think he’s absolutely right. I also think it might say something much worse.

Because to steal a phrase from the opposition, “here’s the deal”: Either Joe Biden or Donald Trump will be the next president. (Sorry, Jo Jorgensen supporters. In case no one told you yet, she is not going to win.)

So let’s do Donald Trump first. Gun people who are reluctant to vote for Trump will point to two reasons (other than rude tweets). Their first objection is that he outlawed bump stocks. We can argue the merits and demerits of that another day, but in my opinion that was never a hill worth dying on. If you think it is…well, let’s just say I understand why the President’s tweets upset you so much. Next, they’ll point out that he made comments which indicated that he supported red flag laws. He also didn’t act on it. That’s it. Those are the two anti-gun arguments commonly leveled at the President.

Now, gun folks who latch onto that last one also like to insist that statements in support of gun control are no different from actual gun control. (You know, sort of like how a certain segment of the population equates words to actual violence. But I digress.) Still, if we’re going to hold the President’s words against him, then it’s only fair that we hold Candidate Biden to the same standard, and hold his words against him. If you are unaware of his stance on guns, I suggest you click on over to https://joebiden.com/gunsafety/ and review his plan to “end gun violence.” And how is he going to end it? By enacting the most comprehensive and draconian agenda of gun control ever. Again, if you want the particulars, head on over to his gun control page and read for yourself. I’m not going to list it all out here, but it is safe to say that any gun control measure you can think of is in there. In fact, if Biden’s gun control ambitions are realized, you’ll be referring to the time when Trump took away bump stocks as “the good old days.” No one serious about gun rights can be serious about Joe Biden.

“But Dave,” some of you might say, “it isn’t really just an either/or choice. We can not vote for Trump because we don’t like him, and then if Biden comes for our guns we’ll fight!”

If you could avoid this by voting, would you?

OK, I get it. Molon labe, cold dead hands, Wolverines!…blah, blah, blah. But what that tells me is that you’re the kind of person who would rather go to war to defend gun rights than to vote to save them. That you’re the kind of person who finds the prospect of spilling the blood of your countrymen preferable to voting for Donald Trump…because of tweets, bump stocks, and and some poorly considered comments which have never been acted upon. (Also…I can’t help but notice that none of you have actually gone to war over any of those things yet. Just saying.)

If you could avoid this by voting, would you?

But if you truly favor the prospect of allowing things to slide to the point of possible bloodshed; if you can’t bring yourself to vote for rude, tweeting Trump even if it could save the nation from violent clashes over gun rights…what does that say about you? I think what it says about you…at best…is that you’ll throw the Second Amendment overboard because of some tweets and rude comments. And what it says about you…at worst…is that even though you understand a Biden gun control presidency could cost lives in defense of the Second Amendment, you still won’t vote Trump to stop it.

Is that who you are? Are you a person who would embrace and exhaust every peaceful option to defend the Second Amendment before resorting to violence? Or are you a person who would sit back and willingly let things slide until there is no non-violent option left? Who are you?

If you could avoid this by voting, would you?
Making New Shooters in Motown

Making New Shooters in Motown

Originally published by Rick Ector at Ammoland.com

 

Firearm Instructors united August 15th and 16th in Taylor – a Detroit suburb – to provide free firearm training to 1,938 metro-Detroit women. They answered a call for assistance by Rick Ector, a Detroit Firearm Instructor, who conducts an annual program to give women a free range safety briefing and a free shooting lesson. Last year, 814 local women were trained by the program. At that point in time, it was the program’s highest-ever attendance total.

The program was created by Ector nine years ago after watching a local story on the news about a woman’s lifeless and naked body being found in a deserted field. He was inspired to ask four fellow firearm instructors he knew to donate their time to help him give women a free shooting lesson. That year fifty women were trained. All expenses were donated by the gun range and Ector.

The free program, now in its ninth year of operation, has grown steadily over the years. Accordingly, Ector set a goal of training a total of 1,500 women this year by conducting his program at two local ranges – “Recoil Gun Range” and “Top Gun Shooting Sports.” Both ranges are located in Taylor, Michigan.

On Saturday, August 15th, a single day training record of 1,200 women being trained how to safely operate a pistol was established at the “Recoil Gun Range.” Further, another 738 women were trained on the following day at “Top Gun Shooting Sports.” Thus, a total of 1,938 women were trained over a two day period.

Students were registered for the program over the Internet to arrive for scheduled range safety briefings and a shooting lesson. Lessons were delivered via one-on-one pairings with a vetted volunteer instructor. The responsibility for classroom instruction and overall supervision of the range belonged to an all-woman team of Chief Training Officers (CTO): Tanisha Moner, Margie Walden, Audree Danielson, and Jamie Gabriel.

Moner, an NRA Chief Range Safety Officer (CRSO) and Certified Firearm Instructor (CFI), served as a CTO for the event. One of her main duties was to prepare the women attendees for their shooting lesson by delivering a presentation on safety rules. She also described what to expect during the live-fire exercise.

When asked to explain why she donates her time to the event, Moner said the following, “Helping to empower these ladies – usually at the beginning of their journey into firearms – is surreal. I can’t NOT participate in this event; it is the highlight of my year.”

Walden, Danielson, and Gabriel are all also NRA CFIs, who served the event as CTOs. Their jobs were to supervise first-line firearm instructors who taught the women attendees how to safely load, handle, and discharge 9mm semi-automatic pistols at approved targets.

Walden explained why she donates her time to the program as the following, “This is the fifth year in a row that I participated because I think it’s very important to empower other women. As a firearm instructor I want to do my part to ensure shooters are trained properly and safely.”

Danielson explained her participation as the following, “I really enjoy working with instructors and volunteers on the range for the ‘Legally Armed In Detroit’ (LAID) event. I love Rick’s event because every person involved – whether they are a participant, volunteer, an instructor – help to make a positive impact on our community.”

Gabriel explained the merit of the training program as the following, “The ‘LAID Annual Free Women Shoot Event’ is important to me because of the safe gun handling training and women empowerment. Every year is an opportunity to build, encourage, and edify women in their pursuit of firearm knowledge.”

Ector’s program relied upon the donated labor and travel expenses of some of the participating Firearm Instructors and other volunteers. The following people who visited Michigan to donate their time are listed as the following: Craig Deluz (CA), Kerry Sloan (WA), Aquil Bey (MD), Candy Petticord (OH), Michael Petticord (OH), Abby Petticord (OH), Jim Irvine (OH), Patrick Collins (GA), Mike Piowowarski (FL), and Kevin Sona (FL).

This year’s program also relied upon donations from a variety of generous sponsors to cover operational expenses:

  • “Recoil Gun Range” donated the use of its meeting space and gun range on Saturday, August 15th.
  • “Top Gun Shooting Sports” donated the use of its meeting space and gun range and sponsored lunch for volunteers on Sunday, August 16th.
  • “Gun Owners of America” (GOA) donated 1,500 pairs of safety glasses and gave away 1,500 baseball GOA imprinted baseball caps.
  • “Firearms Legal Protection” (FLP) donated 1,500 target silhouettes and sponsored lunch for volunteers on Saturday, August 15th.
  • ATEi donated the use of its 9mm semi-automatic pistols.
  • Black Bottom Gun Club donated 900 gun locks.
  • Fenix Ammunition donated 10,000 rounds of 9mm FMJ ammo cartridges.
  • Michigan Gun Owners (MGO) donated 10,000 rounds of 9mm FMJ ammo cartridges and 1,000 pairs of ear plugs.

Volunteer firearm instructors for this event are often the unsung heroes who enable the training to take place. There were scores of instructors who conducted the training of the women but there are too many to list individually. However, one such instructor – Charles LeBron Simmons – is being singled out because other than Ector, he is the only person who has donated his time every year.

Simmons explains his participation in the program as the following, “I look forward to ‘THE EVENT’ every year. I really enjoy showing women of all ages and skill levels how to shoot. I know that it only takes training one to make a difference.”

As a result of the program’s run-away success this past weekend, many observers are wondering what is next for the program. Ector is currently planning for the program to not only grow in the state of Michigan at additional locations, but he also wants to conduct this program in other states across the United States. He is currently quiet about next year’s training goal but he has hinted that he wants to take the program to the next level.

Ector wants feedback from the public, as to where he should conduct his program in the future. Additionally, he is currently seeking additional donors who can make those plans financially feasible.

 

About Rick Ector

Rick Ector is a National Rifle Association credentialed Firearms Trainer, who provides Michigan CCW/CPL Class training in Detroit for students at his firearms school – Rick’s Firearm Academy of Detroit.

Ector is a recognized expert in firearm safety, a gun rights keynote speaker, and has been featured extensively in the national and local media: Associated Press, Fox News, USA Today, NRAnews, Gun Digest, The Politics Daily, Fox News Detroit, The Detroit News, Lock-N-Load Radio, WGPR and the UrbanShooterPodcast.

Dear Selfie

Dear Selfie

If you ever need a reminder of how far you haven’t come – and really, who wouldn’t want that? – write yourself a letter and just happen upon it ten plus years later. I was recently organizing files on my computer, getting rid of duplicates and obsolete documents, as a means of keeping myself busy and feeling productive, during quarantine. “To My Dear Self,” the title read. “Oh, this should be interesting,” was my first thought, and then the thought that followed was, “Is this a good idea?” You see, like many of my fellow Earthlings, I’ve been feeling pretty low lately. That would explain my reluctance to dip even further by opening this can of worms, and yet, like a good train wreck, I couldn’t look away from it either.

I’ve been a journal keeper most of my life, but this idea was a little different. It was born from my old youth group leader when I was in high school. Every New Year’s Eve, he and his wife took all the kids on a retreat up into the New Hampshire mountains. You would be given the letter you had written to yourself the year before, and you would write a new one to be opened and read the following year. I don’t remember it being very eye-opening. Honestly, I don’t remember anything I ever wrote or how I ended up feeling about it a year later, but I do remember enjoying the activity of it. When I sat down in 2009 to write to my ol’ dear selfie, I don’t know when I thought I would actually read it again. I had completely forgotten its existence until now. 

2009 was not a stellar year for me. It turns out, 2019 and definitely 2020 aren’t either, but hindsight is, ironically, 20/20. In 2009, I was being laid off from the job I had held for eleven (for the most part) happy years. It would mean the end of tough shift work, which was good, but the bad part was I was losing a decent hourly wage while trying to live in a high cost-of-living place. To make a long story short, I had some tough decisions to make. Big ones. The kind most people don’t make more than once in their lifetimes. I didn’t feel ready for that. Family relations, usually solid, were strained during this time period making decision-making more emotional than it should ever be. The 2009 letter broke it down basically to this: “I know you’ve been second guessing everything, so the purpose of today’s letter is to encourage you to stay the course. I think it’s a good plan.” To round out the long story, I actually did stay the course and gave the plan a shot, but it didn’t work out. Less than a year later, my life would change again when, at 37, I finally met the man I would (very quickly) marry, and life would get better for awhile, and then strange again, as life does. To be fair and honest, and to add some positivity here where I’m starting to feel like a Debbie Downer, 2010 was the greatest year of my life. I’m willing to bet that will be a story for you for another time.

 

What I learned from my Dear Selfie letter was actually basic life stuff. Mostly, the more people and life change, the more they stay the same. My life is night-and-day different now from what it was back then; yet, here I sit today, still feeling kind of unsure about things. The lesson? Maybe that’s okay. I missed something when I read that letter the first time. Sure, I got the message: Stay the course. But, what spoke to me even more loudly the second time was the nurture and care I gave myself back then: “You handled yourself well, and you should feel good about that,” I wrote. “You took much more of the responsibility than was ever yours to take.” All I remember feeling during those days was guilt and regret, but no, look! My own words directly challenge those feelings, and I’m so glad. I wouldn’t have written it if it weren’t true. 

Maybe I haven’t come that far, but who cares? I’ve managed to stay true to myself, and somehow, even while being neglected and abused, I’ve been able to show myself compassion and love. The world is going to be the world. Life is life. You are you. Sit down today and write your dear old self a letter. 

Life is Easier When You Can Laugh

Life is Easier When You Can Laugh

John Hickok is doing standup and is pretty good.   He is a talented, tall brother.  This was recorded at Laffs Comedy Cafe in Tucson Arizona on 1/24/2020. John Hickok is the co-creator and co-host of world famous award winning YouTube channel hickok45 and I just found out is a nationally touring stand up comedian. He was also featured on an episode of NRA All Access previously airing on the Outdoor Channel. His comedy influences are The Simpsons , Bill Hicks , Dave Chappelle , George Carlin , and Mitch Hedberg.

Listen to the real reason he carries a gun. NSFW. (its comedy)


To stay up to date on future shows as well as business contact follow on Instagram @john_hickok45 as well as @johnhickokpresentsstandup.

 

WAY TO GO John!

Check out these podcast:  Black Man With A Gun Show ,  Speak Life church , and  Indian Motorcycle radio  The Books, Kenn has written.
Dream On

Dream On

An awful lot of gun people seem to be having a little crush lately, and the object of their affection is Libertarian Party presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen. I have to say that while she gives great soundbites, I don’t think there is a whole lot of substance underneath the surface. Kind of reminds me of this 90’s tune from obscure Canadian band, The Northern Pikes…

Now we can consider all the ins and outs of the Electoral College, and how Dr. Jorgensen doesn’t stand a snowballs chance of scoring even a single electoral vote. But if you’re politically engaged enough to even know who she is, then you already know her odds of winning. If…after considering all that…you are still considering throwing your vote away by checking the box for her “on principle” come November, then this is the post for you.

It is admittedly easy for a pro-2A voter to swoon when she speaks on her plans for the right to keep and bear arms. Just listen to what she had to say to Tom Gresham on Gun Talk a couple of weeks ago:

Except her plans aren’t really much of a plan. Taken at face value, she is a gun- rights advocate’s dream. Abolish all gun laws passed in the last 100 years? Yes! Abolish the ATF? Count me in! It all sounds good on paper, until you notice that she offers nothing in the way of a strategy to actually accomplish any of this. She even says “if it were up to me I would get rid of every gun law passed in the last 100 years”? The thing is, it isn’t up to her, or any president. If she’s unaware of that, she might not have a solid grasp of what the office actually entails. If she is aware of that, then she’s straight up pandering to the gun vote.

It was the lack of detail in the Gun Talk interview that led me to Jorgensen’s website to see if there was any more information on her plans to restore the Second Amendment. Imagine my surprise when I found…absolutely nothing. There is nothing at all on her website which addresses gun rights, even in passing. It is not listed under her “Issues,” or anywhere else on the site that I could find. No mention. At all.

What does this say about her sincerity or seriousness when it comes to the Second Amendment? It tells me that if you’re looking to Jo Jorgensen to restore gun freedoms in this country, you can dream on. She stands no chance, and has no plan to achieve what she claims she aspires to even of she did somehow win. And if you somehow cling to the idea that a third-party vote does anything other than help elect Joe Biden, you need to wake up. The addled Democrat’s gun policy embraces every radical anti-gun policy you can imagine; he is no moderate on the issue of the Second Amendment (and neither are any of his potential running mates, who will likely end up as president early in Biden’s first term).

There is no third way. There is no realistic strategy for preserving gun freedom other than a vote for Donald Trump. Keep dreaming that dream, and wake up to a nightmare.

Original post at deltabravocharlie.com

How Calibers Get Popular and How to Pick the Best

How Calibers Get Popular and How to Pick the Best

There are hundreds of calibers to choose from when deciding on your next firearm, so how to choose? Like it or not, the most common, household names like 9mm are not the best performing rounds out there. Many factors determine how popular and widely available a caliber will be, including,

  • military use
  • good marketing
  • adoption by many firearm and ammo manufacturers
  • rave reviews from respected figures in the firearms community
  • performance

I put performance at the end of the list for a reason, it’s just not the main deciding factor.

 

The big three: when in doubt, use what the Army uses

Three of the most widely available rifle calibers have been US military standard issue, .30-06, .308, and .223. Yeah, they have some fancy metric names but these are actually the original designations. The first two are outstanding performers. The US military introduced the .30-06 in 1906 to make sure that it had the firepower to outgun rifles like the Mauser 1983 used by the Spanish in the Spanish-American War. The .308 was a failed attempt to adapt the .30-06 for select fire after WWII. It turned out to be an outstanding performer in long-range marksmanship and is still used in NATO sniper rifles. Both the .30-06 and the .308 are legendary rounds, two of the most popular in America and around the world. The next standard issue US military rifle round is more contentious, the .223. The UK wanted to bring NATO into the assault rifle age with the FN FAL chambered in the superior .280 British, but the US military doesn’t like being told what to do, so AR-15 in .223 it was. The rifle is a runaway success, but the round, designed to be light, fast, and easy to pack in bulk definitely has its detractors. It doesn’t really excel in anything.

 

It’s a similar story with the military’s move from the 45 ACP thumper to the 9mm. Both the .223 and the 9mm are considered by many to be pea-shooters and major missteps in military procurement. Nevertheless, thanks to Uncle Sam’s seal of approval, these are two of the most ubiquitous rounds on the civilian market today. One of the best handgun calibers is 10mm, which was developed to outgun both 45 ACP and 9mm in a semi-auto handgun. The FBI trialed it after the tragic 1986 Miami shootout, but weaker trainees found it hard to manage. Instead of giving them more training, the FBI developed the .40 S&W, which is still better than the 9mm.

 

Does standard issue mean best of the best?

As a civilian shooter, your priorities are probably not to have something that will outgun the Spanish, provide .30-06 performance in full-auto, be easy to pack in bulk into battle, or be easy on the weak. If you’ve ever built an AR-15, you know that mil-spec components are solid options, but for a bit more cash, you can get something much better. The same is true with calibers. There are of course rounds that have been designed from the ground up to meet civilian needs, but even in that category, the most popular options are not the best performers. Legendary options like .270 and .243 come to mind to out-perform the .308, depending on the specific scenario. If ‘go big or go home’ is your motto, to outgun .30-06, anything with a ‘Weatherby’ and ‘Magnum’ in the name will do the trick, especially if there’s also a ‘.300’ in it. The .300 Winchester Magnum is also hard to beat. 

 

It’s not hard to do better than .223

It’s disconcerting that the calibers for taking out fools are the same as those for taking out varmints. It’s not hard to find something that performs better than .223, check out .204 Ruger or 6.5 Creedmoor. For whatever reason, 6.5 appears to be a ballistic sweet spot. Rounds in this range usually offer long, thin bullets, giving you a great ‘ballistic coefficient,’ meaning they cut through the air efficiently, shooting straight and flat without getting bucked by the wind. Many argue that they hit well above their weight. Think 6.5x55mm Swedish, .260 Remington, 6.5 Grendel, or even its daughter case, .224 Valkyrie. Unlike the military rounds mentioned above, you’re not going to find these in every single little sporting goods shop. I know of no round with better ballistics than the .260. Remington failed to market it well when it was introduced and other manufacturers didn’t take it up, so it faded away everywhere but in long-range competition results. Legendary civilian rounds like .270 Winchester enjoyed solid marketing, brought adoption by manufacturers, and rave reviews by leading figures in the firearms community. It is a great performer, but, like .308, it’s not the best.

 

Availability is a major issue in picking the best caliber

As performance and popularity are not in perfect alignment, if you insist on going for the ultimate cartridge in a given category, you’re probably going to face availability issues. Sure, every so often there is a general, nationwide ammo shortage anyway. One way around this is to reload. Get a reloading press and other equipment, stock up on brass, invest in an annealer, and you’ll be pretty self-sufficient. If you cast your own bullets from old tire weights, all you need to worry about is powder and primers.

 

Check out our guide to reloading.

 

One way to avoid agonizing over which caliber is best is to just go 12 gauge. You sacrifice range for unrivaled versatility. Most deer are shot not far past the effective range of a slug, and a slug will drop anything you place a decent shot on. Buckshot is a great option for home defense, but again, the most popular, old military option, double-aught, isn’t as good as #1 buckshot, which will give your assailant more pellets and more lead to contend with.

 

The bottom line: it’s the shooter not the round

After all that nitpicking, here’s the bottom line. If you go with a well established, proven caliber in one of these categories,

  • Handgun
  • Rifle for varmints/defense
  • Rifle for mid-sized game
  • Rifle for large game

You can save the headache of obsessing over which caliber to choose. Training and practice will make vastly more difference in how effective your shooting is than caliber choice. Availability is an important factor to consider when choosing the ‘best caliber.’ So if a good deal on a gun in a proven caliber comes up, don’t fret, pull the trigger. Get yourself trained and put in some serious hours at the range and you’ll be outgunning the best of them. Have fun and shoot safe!

 

You Ever Thought Of Getting A Motorcycle?

You Ever Thought Of Getting A Motorcycle?

Rev. Kenn Blanchard provides some old school advice on getting a motorcycle.  Check out this podcast episode.

 

Who Else Wants A Motorcycle?

  • What’s The Best Motorcycle For You? 
  • How You Can Pay For This Motorcycle.
  • How To Get Your Spouse To Let You Buy One. 

Have you ever walked outside and thought it was the perfect day for a motorcycle ride?  

There is something magical about motorcycle riding.  It just makes you feel good.  It doesn’t matter if it is a work day or the weekend, riding makes you feel connected to life.  Going to work doesn’t even feel bad when you ride in.  It doesn’t matter if your bike is more fuel-efficient than your car or not.  You don’t have to worry about carrying anyone extra or anyone begging for a ride.  It’s just for some “me” time before or after work.  Don’t you want to get the wind in your face?  When is the last time you enjoyed the blue sky overhead?  It’s as much about the throaty rumble of power every time you blip the throttle as it is about endless vistas and the freedom of the road.

But wait, you don’t have a motorcycle yet.  You’ve thought about it, and in your head you’ve said, “The kids are grown and moved out.  I need to challenge myself with something fun and different.  How about a motorcycle?  I just need to get my wife behind me, and get the money together…”  Two very big “ifs” indeed…

 I’ve been riding motorcycles since 1976.  It’s been an on-and-off love relationship that I have recently heated up again in with the creation of the Indian Motorcycle Radio podcast.  

“What’s The Best Motorcycle For You?” 

It depends. 

Today, motorcycles are better than ever and also more specialized than ever.  When I started they were almost all the same.  You either had an American bike or a Japanese bike.  It was a street bike or a dirt bike.  Nowadays, the key is finding the motorcycle that’s right for you and figure out the kind of riding you want to do.

I started out liking motorcycles because my father rode a Honda Chopper back in the 70’s.  I didn’t know anything more than that.  It is like that for a lot of us.  If you have friends that ride sport bikes, you may lean that way.  If you have older friends that ride long distances, you may be in the BMW adventure or touring bike crowd.  If you are a fan of the bad boy Harley-Davidson culture, need I say more?

The choice you make is really up to you.  Whatever your style, there is a bike that suits you.  An inexperienced rider may be able to safely ride a large, powerful machine from point A to point B, but he or she may not enjoy the experience if they find the bike difficult to maneuver on the wrong surface.  The size of the bike you choose is relative. The two things most likely to add to a new rider’s confidence level is the weight of the bike and one’s ability to get both feet on the ground at a stop. Weight and seat height figures are almost always included among the specifications listed for new motorcycles on the manufacturers’ websites, so that’s a good place to start sorting through which bikes are most new-rider-friendly.   I suggest that you start at a local dealership and just sit on (literally) different types to get an idea of where you are.  Until you do, the measurements you will hear and see on websites may not mean much. Where do you plan on riding?  Are you planning to ride long distances, around town, or on a track?  Are you into speed or does off-roading interest you more?

I just recently met a grandmother who rides a Harley-Davidson Road King.  She stands five feet tall. The motorcycle that is best for you will depend greatly on what type of trips you plan on taking. Cruisers and touring bikes are designed with comfort in mind and can often be ridden for miles on end. Sport bikes are cool.  They go fast.  They are hundreds of groups that ride together with them.  They are not as expensive as some other bikes, but they require a riding position that can be more physically demanding over the course of several hours of riding. 

Some bikes may be too tall for your feet to comfortably reach the pavement when stopped.  Others may be too small to ride comfortably for an extended period of time. As a general rule, cruiser style bikes have low seat heights that accommodate a wide range of rider sizes, while dirt bikes and dual sport bikes are taller.  Hybrids and sport bikes fall somewhere in between depending on make and model. The two things most likely to add to your confidence level are the bikes weight and your ability to get both feet on the ground at a stop. Lighter bikes are always better when you’re still learning to balance, steer, accelerate, and brake. And while experienced riders often learn to become comfortable just getting one foot down at a stop, it’s more reassuring to plant both feet when you’re just getting started.  Everything comes with time.  We can get used to anything.  It is all personal preference. 

The first step toward figuring out which bike is right for you is understanding the categories of motorcycles and their pros and cons, from the perspective of a new rider. 

Standard / Adventure bikes

  1. Light, Simple, 
  2. Inexpensive To Buy And Insure
  3. Riding On And Off Road

Sport Bikes

  1. Speed And Handling
  2. Lightweight
  3. Insurance Maybe Higher
  4. Racing Posture May Be Uncomfortable For Long Rides

Cruiser

  1. Built For Relaxed Rides
  2. Low Seat Lets Rider Get Feet Down
  3. Low Center Of Gravity Offsets Heft

Touring

  1. Made For Long Rides On The Open Road
  2. Comfortable, Has Many Accessories
  3. Good Weather Protection
  4. Integrated Luggage
  5. Generally Heavier 
  6. More expensive Than Average
  7. And there are hybrids of all of these bikes as well as types by brand that specialize in certain type of riding.  

 

How You Can I Pay For This Motorcycle?”

I asked a few friends what was keeping them from getting the motorcycles they want.  Money was the number one answer.  So, you would buy a new motorcycle if you had the money, right?  

There are several options to pay for your next motorcycle. One can pay in cash, or choose from a variety of financing options offered through local lenders. In some cases you may be able to finance directly from the manufacturer of your new bike.  And the obvious, a used bike from a private seller might be ok, too.  Just make sure you can get it checked out by a motorcycle mechanic and rider before you buy.

Being able to afford your dream bike may seem impossible, but you can do this.  It just takes a little effort.  One way is to gradually save the money you need over time.  Believe it or not, saving money for this bike can make you happy.  It is goal setting.  Saving money is one of the best habits people can take up. Second only to living healthier, the more you save, the more likely you are to be happy.  Don’t you want to be happy?  I know saving is tough but it is also like the constant drip of a faucet.  It can add up after awhile.  And once you get started, the momentum can carry you.  Make a bold move and open a new savings account for your new bike.  It takes a few steps, but the inertia will solidify your action.  Make yourself a plan, and give yourself a realistic timeframe to save as much as you can to put towards your bike.  Savings rates are s-l-o-w these days, but you can still earn interest.  I suggest a savings account because it can be harder to access money in these accounts than in other transaction accounts.  That will prevent you from using the money for other things.

Motorcycle Loans

Paying for your bike outright will always be cheaper than buying it on finance or taking out a loan through a bank, but if you do need to take out a loan make sure you shop around. Every financial institution is trying to sell you a loan nowadays.  You can sometimes do better than the dealership at credit unions. One of the new things available today is that you can apply online at lending institutions now.  They consider this a non-auto vehicle loan.  Sometimes it helps if you have an account at the lending bank.  All you will need is:

  • Personal and contact information
  • Employment and income information
  • Collateral information (year, new or used, make and model, and other details)

Direct Deposit

One of the easiest ways to save to this account is to have it directly deposited into the account.  Arranging for a portion of each paycheck to be deposited directly into a savings account takes the stress out.  It makes it automatic and easily forgotten.   

•To set up an automatic deposit, talk to the payroll staff at your job (or, if your employer uses one, your third-party payroll service). If you can provide account information for a savings account separate from your basic checking account, you should generally be able to set up a direct deposit scheme with no problems.

•If for some reason you can’t set up an automatic deposit for each paycheck (like if you support yourself with freelance work or are paid mostly in cash), decide on a specific cash amount to manually deposit into a savings account each month and stick to this goal.

Side Money

Almost all of us have a side hustle.  You know, that thing you do, that earns you extra money?  Some of us do it regularly and spend it on gasoline, coffee, or fun on the weekend.  What if you took that money and put it into your savings account?  Consider working a few hours a week to earn some money.  Take the extra and put that in the bank.

Jump start your savings account by selling some junk.  You know you have some stuff you don’t use but that is of value to someone.  Get rid of it.  Go to eBay, Craigslist, or put together a yard sale and start your savings account today.  

These are not overnight fixes to your motorcycle “jones” but anything worth having is worth working toward.  Plus, this effort can be social proof of your intent, seriousness, and desire if you have to sell this idea to a spouse (more on that later).  Give it some thought and start today. It’s not about how much money you make.  It’s how you save it.

How Do I Get My Spouse To Let Me Buy One? 

You would like a motorcycle but your spouse doesn’t want you to have one.  Here are the top three reasons for this:

  1. They fear losing you.
    • They have lost someone in a wreck/accident.
    • They think you are immature and reckless.
  2. Trust issues
    • a.Your past 
    • Their past 
  3. They don’t have enough information about it. 

There are a lot of fellows in and outside of the church who are not real happy at home.  We have PhDs who are experts in some pretty interesting subjects but who have not mastered the most important–home.  If your wife/spouse lost someone close to her because that person died in a motorcycle accident, it is going to be pretty tough to get past that.  If that is not it, there’s hope.  

I say that because if you can communicate with your spouse, that this is not a hair-brained scheme, and that you know what you are talking about, you have a very high chance of getting this motorcycle.  How can I be so sure?  I say this because she lives with you now.  She sleeps with you.  She puts up with stuff from you that nobody else would.  That is a plus.  All you have to do is fix what is broken. That is done by expressing this desire to her and meeting her needs.  It is often a matter of communication and/or trust.

Let’s start at the beginning.  

Marriage to me was designed by the Creator to meet our core needs for companionship.  It can be a beautiful thing, but it takes effort that most don’t want to give.  Marriage is like taking two people and making a new life form.  When cells merge, they make a unique cell.  The emphasis is on unique.  Marriage should mean that you and your wife have a unique relationship.  It should be completely different from the relationship you have with anybody else on the planet (in a good way) past or present.

There is no perfect wife or husband.  Each partner brings both merits and faults to the table.   The key to making it work is in knowing your mate and desiring to put their needs ahead of your own, unselfishly. 

If your wife, for example, knows you like food and wants to meet this need, whatever she does to meet it should be appreciated.  She may dislike cooking or simply not be a good cook, but you eat the food and express gratitude.  That is how I believe it is possible for you to get a motorcycle even if your spouse said “no” last year.  It’s the love thing.  It can overturn her ruling no matter how adamant.  It’s her prerogative.

One of the most important things in your relationship is understanding. Assume nothing.  Most of our arguments, disagreements, and frustrations are about small things, misunderstandings, and miscommunication.  She said “no” to your motorcycle idea not even for the reason you thought.  She may be thinking that you are going through a phase, a midlife crisis, and with it comes the redhead, the extramarital affair, or that you no longer appreciate her and are looking to “trade up.”  Nothing is as it seems.

People are the mathematical equations you studied in school and wondered what relevance they had in the real world.  I believe that each of us represents a number.  Some of us are “whole” and some are not.  Multiply our past, present, and self-image and you have a factor that represents us now.  

To get what you want, you have to make sure she is taken care of first, and that requires self-sacrifice.  She doesn’t know you want a motorcycle.  She doesn’t think you need one.  There is some underlying issue between you two and you, as a team, are out of sync.  You are like a beautiful instrument out of tune.  It happens to us all but the only crime is not working to change it.  

Real love requires sacrifice.  As a married couple, you have already begun a process of compromise.  You are already evolving into “one flesh.”  Your marriage is one of your most sacred expressions of love.  Well, it is supposed to be.  It is on this premise that I believe you can get your wife to go along with and even champion your case to get a motorcycle.  For this to happen you have to be treating her correctly.  There must be honor, respect, compassion, communication and trust.  If you can improve your quotient of these factors, you will be riding soon.

How and why do I think this?  

  1. She married you
  2. She loves you
  3. Location, location, location

The lack of communication is the number one reason marriages fail.  We are not mind readers, but we expect each other to be just that.  We get frustrated and angry when we miss the cues (and when our spouse misses the cues) and the signals to trying to get what we want.

Communication is not talking.  When a married man comes home, his wife sometimes asks him all sorts of questions to dialog with him.  Contrarily when the wife comes home, the husband is just glad she is back physically and rarely asks questions.  We are missing an opportunity every time that happens.  To some men, the wife is interrogating him.  To the woman, she is trying to share her feelings, clear her head through conversation, and talk to the one person she can trust.  We miss that.  She loves you and married you.  If you talk to the dog more than you do your wife, guess whom you will sleep with more?  The more you allow the conversation to progress the better everything else becomes.  

The buzz word here is intimacy.  When I heard the word intimacy I thought of sex at first but these words do not necessarily mean the same thing.  Both share some common principles but they are different.  Intimacy is the condition of being close as in an acquaintance, association of familiarity, i.e. knowing one’s deepest nature.  That is where the sex part comes in.  To be naked is to be vulnerable.  Being vulnerable to your spouse is not a weakness.  It takes courage and how you handle that soft delicate part builds trust.

You can’t have secrets and keep trust alive.  Every secret you have is a possible deal breaker.  You have to move passed the common thoughts of “she is my friend.”  Your wife should be your friend and more.  The big difference between a wife and a friend is the “know” factor.  Knowledge is power.  You could have been married before, but the new wife should know more about you than the old one.  You are to entrust power to your wife so that she can give you power over her.  The power of intimacy between a man and a woman demands that what you share be the latest and deepest understanding of one another.

Give her the information gradually.  With respect to her time, and willingness to receive it, talk about safety, show your maturity.  Find out her objections and slowly and repeatedly provide information to refute.  The magic here is in the delivery.   Remember when you wanted a special toy and your mother said “no?”  It is with that type of persistence and innocence that you have to do this.  

When I got married I had two motorcycles.  My wife wasn’t a big fan so I decided to sell them when my son was born.  I learned later that she never had a problem with my bikes.  It was all in my head, and I found out only after I spoke to her about it.  After I realized it was my issue I started a “campaign” to show her I missed riding.  Every day that it was nice outside for the next few years, I would say, “It sure is a nice day for a bike ride.”  I would talk incessantly about motorcycles during the summer.  Then one winter’s eve, a friend of mine was traveling overseas and had to sell his motorcycle immediately.  I explained to the wife that it was a good deal and would help him out.  I went the credit union route and financed a quick personal loan and got the bike before Christmas.  My wife didn’t care a bit.  I later traded it in for the bike I have now.  

Today, my bike is paid for and I am eyeballing a new motorcycle.  I know what she will say when I present it to her.  I also know what has to be done so she doesn’t think I am doing something contrary to our family rules.  You just have to know what they are and take care of home first.

The fear of loss, the fear of losing you or a learned fear about motorcycles will make your desire tougher but not impossible.  Remember that everyone is different.  Don’t put the stress of time on this even though you want to be riding by next season.  Be patient. Love is patient…

“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.”- Margaret Thatcher

Respect and love your spouse.  Listen to her and express your desires.  In time, the same desire she has to cook you a meal will be the one that takes you to the dealership.  Earlier I said “location, location, location.”  What I meant there is that you have the blessing of proximity.  You can be the gentle dripping faucet that begs to be turned off.  Begging can be fun.  Do this with the intention of not giving up.  Your sincerity is important.  Don’t be surprised if this positively affects other avenues of your relationship.  Communication is the secret sauce.  I look forward to your feedback, success stories, and questions.  

“Without communication, there is no relationship, without respect there is no love, without trust there is no reason to continue.”

I hope that something you read or heard here gives you encouragement to try to get your dream motorcycle, next bike or ride again.   Money is always an issue.  It is the love of it that builds and destroys empires, marriages, and businesses.  That’s a shame.  Don’t lose hope; keep saving.  It may take awhile, but as you build your savings, you can keep the dream alive by learning as much as you can about safe, responsible riding.  And of course, keep looking for safety gear – it’s often on sale at a reduced price – somewhere.

The longest section of this post dealt with marriage and that may or may not be applicable to your situation.  I’ve been married for 28 years and officiated at least fifteen weddings.  Marriage is a big deal to me.  I’ve wrecked some.  And salvaged the one I have now only by the grace of God.   I’m a fan of happy people but don’t see enough of them. 

Take what works for you, share it and pass on the rest.  Motorcycle riding is one of the greatest experiences I have had.  I have ridden from coast to coast, saw the ever-changing landscape and more sunrises and sunsets than I can count.   But riding is also about people – it’s not just about thundering over hill and dale on two steel wheels.  It’s about the fellow traveling souls you encounter – some that merely pass by and others you keep in your head and your heart.  It’s a great community, and I want you to join us.  

 

Check out these podcast:  Black Man With A Gun Show ,  Speak Life church , and  Indian Motorcycle radio  The Books, Kenn has written.
These Days

These Days

Sometime last week, I was in my usual (these days, anyway) 3:00AM position and state of mind: buried underneath my covers in darkness snuggling with my best friend, (these days) Kindle. My second best friend (these days) is vodka, but more on that, perhaps, another time. The Kindle was loaned to me by my friend, Lindsey, who knew that I, like many others, was stuck home in quarantine and trying to not lose my ever-loving mind. Reading helps. The Kindle she loaned me was already loaded with book titles – I mean, like hundreds – so, I was going to be good for awhile.

One of my favorite things to do is judge a book by its cover. I know, I know. I can’t help it. If the cover has boats, trees, or an animal on it, or is drenched in natural, preferably nautical colors, I’m in! I don’t even need to know the storyline. I’m in. Well, Kindle doesn’t offer that, so I’ve actually learned that I love reading a book by going in completely blind – no preconceived notions, no warnings. It turns out that one thing I’ve believed my whole life has turned out to be untrue: I don’t hate mysteries and thrillers. Who knew? Who also knew that through this process I would find out that Jessica Simpson is one of my favorite people on Earth? Stay with me, now. Actually, let me back up for a minute.

I’ve been out of work for almost three months. I work in one of those big box retail stores – one that’s been frequented heavily these days, and with my history of severe asthma, my doctor recommended a leave of absence to stay away from the general public for awhile. Not knowing how long “for awhile” is going to go on, I’ve been working on trying to get my small home business off the ground, and it’s been stressful. I never thought myself to be a super social person, but it turns out, I need people around me. I was born under the sign of Cancer, and I guess that profile fits me because while I like people, I want to keep them at an emotionally safe distance. This physically safe distance, though, has caused a little bit of a panic that started as just a slow simmer inside of me, but has become too close to the boiling point for comfort. So what that I can’t spend a spa day relaxing alone but with the company of nearby people? So what that we can’t go to a MLB game? So what that the bars and nightclubs are closed? Right? So, what? So, we have become more and more isolated from each other, which has only enhanced the ridiculous political climate that surrounds us right now. So, we need the distraction of entertainment. So, we need to have the common grounds that have been taken from us. That’s so what. I do digress, but I just wanted to make the point, that I, like millions of people around the world, am feeling a little low.

Back to Miss Simpson. I’ve never been a Jessica Simpson fan, but nor have I ever been a hater. I actually liked her in Dukes of Hazzard, and, back in the day, enjoyed an episode or two of Newlyweds. The girl is funny. But, never being into pop, I’m not familiar with her music. That night last week, as I attempted to disappear (literally, if only I could) into my Kindle library where her newly released memoir, Open Book waited patiently for me, I met Jessica. I’m going to have to fight the desire here to make this a raving review for the book. It honestly was exceptional, but I’m hoping to drive a different point home. I found a kinship with Jessica through the story of her life. There were many similarities to our upbringings. We were both firstborn daughters, born in July, with younger sisters born the same amount of years later. We both were raised Baptist, and still to this day carry those traditions in our hearts, but more importantly, we both are passionate in our love for the Lord. We’ve both found ourselves, throughout our lives, struggling to find our places in the world – in a world that is so temporary and fleeting and fickle. Like me, she is a writer. So much of her music was born from entries in journals she kept throughout her life. I used to be a journal keeper. I stopped ten years ago, for reasons that are only now obvious to me, but I had always found it helpful, therapeutic. As I watched her beautiful and painful story unfold, it was clear to me the impact her writing had on actually saving her life. I’ve been feeling like I’m drowning recently. No, actually, I take that back. I’ve been feeling like I’m sinking in the muck and mire at the bottom of the sea – beyond drowning. Jessica struck a chord in me. It was as if she was saying, directly to me, “Girl. Pick up that pen, and write it down.” So, I did. Whether it was the actual words I was writing, or the act alone of writing, or if it was something else altogether, I really don’t know, but something began to happen. It was tiny, but I could feel it. The following morning, I was texting with a friend who was concerned about me. He advised me to write these words you are reading right now. “It might help someone else who’s feeling the same way,” he said. “Do it for me.”  

I’m not feeling 100% better today, but I’d honestly say 45%! And that’s something, right? My feelings of purposelessness and despair are only nagging thoughts in the background now instead of being everything to me. What is the answer, then? I think it’s that we have to almost force ourselves to do those things that we know can help us dig out. Oftentimes, I know, we have lost the desire to even free ourselves, but I made myself write when I really didn’t feel like it. What is it, for you, that can help break you out of your prison? Have you seen the video of the speech, “Make Your Bed” by Admiral William McRaven? It’s a beautiful and eloquent commencement address that boils down to a simple task: Make your bed. It sounds like an oversimplification, but truly, things are so much more simple than we want to believe.

You should watch the video of his speech here:

 

The other thing I hope you take away from this is the importance of people. I’ve always been a loner, so it’s hard for me to accept my need for others, but we all have that need. Look at the line of people it took to get me just 45% better. Lindsey loaned me the Kindle, and has since told me to keep it as a gift! Thank you, Lindsey! That led me to Jessica’s book – thank you, Jessica! My Brother from another mother urged me to write this story – thank you, Kenn! This little story may have made even one of you feel a tad bit better today, and that thought alone makes my heart sing. And just like that, I’m at about 60% – thank you, Lord.

5 Actionable Steps For Reducing Racism In America

5 Actionable Steps For Reducing Racism In America

When tasked with that question, It’s easy to shut down, because the issue is simply too big and multifaceted. There is too much that needs to be done: from education to healthcare to law enforcement and incarceration… the list goes on and on. Plus, many solutions require money, time, or confidence – resources that may be lacking in people who sincerely want to help, but feel like there is nothing significant they can do.

I’ve identified 5 simple actions that every single American can implement today, that collectively will help move the needle forward:

 

  1. Get Vulnerable – it is human nature to hold prejudices. When you see someone approaching you, your brain automatically assesses the person and the situation to determine if you are in danger. We’re programmed to look for danger so we can avoid it, or in some cases prepare to confront it. It’s that concept of “fight-or-flight” we learned about when studying animals – but it applies to us too!

These biases we hold are shaped by our unique lives and experiences – and what I perceive as a threat may be different from what you perceive as a threat. We have to be willing and able to acknowledge that those biases exist inside of us, and then we must challenge why they exist? Is it because there is ACTUALLY a threat? Or is the threat a false perception? If it’s a false perception, then we can work on reframing that prejudice.
A few months ago I was working in a Starbucks. A group of kids walked in with their backpacks, they clearly walked over from a nearby school, and were loud and playful and having a good time while they hopped in line to order and started looking for tables to sit at. I moved my purse from the chair next to me, to the floor between my leg and the wall. Why? Not because I wanted to free-up a chair.
I had to recognize what I had just done, realize why I did it, then think about how I can reprogram the experience instead. I moved my purse to the window ledge – off the floor! And made sure to make eye contact with the kids and smile. I imagined my own kids at that age – and remembered hanging out with my own friends similarly. This is nothing to fear. I will reframe this – and other – prejudices when I recognize them.
Challenge yourself: I’ve found that talking about how I’m identifying and reframing my prejudices out loud with a trusted person face-to-face, or even on social media, is really helpful. It holds me accountable, and others show up to support the process, which is vulnerable and difficult.
  1. Educate Yourself – You can not expect anyone else to do the work for you, you must educate yourself. In this day and age where social media is the place where much of our news and education is consumed it’s important to be thorough in your research and to consider the sources for your information. Much of the information on social media tends to have a political agenda tied to it – and that’s a topic for a whole other conversation. But I do encourage you to consume content on both sides of the spectrum and to seek out peer-reviewed sources for information, as opposed to information that is influenced by opinion.

    The same way we got vulnerable to identify our internal biases, we have to extend that vulnerability to the content we are consuming so that we can be as confident as possible that we’re not spreading false or misleading information – including memes.
There is a lot that I’ve discovered that I didn’t know – I am ashamed to admit that I had never learned about the Tulsa Race Massacre until this year. That’s inexcusable. It further enforces that the education system failed me, but also that there is a lot of work I can do to educate myself, which will allow me to be a stronger advocate and also share that information with others.
Challenge yourself: get a small group together to learn together. Select a book or movie that will challenge what you know and watch it – then come together to discuss it openly and with vulnerability. Keep an open-mind, and be willing to learn and possibly change your opinion.
  1. Listen – If you know me personally, you know that this is an especially difficult point for me – because I love to talk! But, if you’re the only one talking – then you can’t possibly be learning.

It’s essential that we compassionately listen to the stories of others – without getting defensive or interjecting our own opinions. We must understand that we all see life through different lenses, which are shaped by our life experiences. Two people can be in the same room at the same time, but leave with different feelings and experiences. We have to be willing to believe what other people tell us about how they feel and what they experienced – even if it’s not consistent with our experiences, or the expectations we had for them.
Oftentimes when it comes to divisive issues (political or otherwise), we project an extremist opinion to those who are in opposition to our beliefs. For example, if you support Black Lives Matter, you hate police. Not always the case, right? And the flip side of that coin – if you support All Lives Matter, you are racist. Not always the case either, right?  But, these perceptions prohibit productive conversations.
We have to have tough conversations to get to the real issues. Maybe we’d discover that the BLM advocate fears police brutality and supports police reform and training… and the ALM advocate has family who are police and they fear for their safety. Once we’ve unpacked that a little, we can begin to continue the discussion, and discover areas where beliefs do in fact overlap. Then, we can open ourselves up to learn more, and evaluate biases we’ve been feeling about people who vote/advocate differently than we do.
Challenge yourself: Show up on social media calm and maturely. Before replying to a heated debate on social media take a deep breath (sometimes I even save the post and walk away for a few minutes) so that you can reply calmly and not with anger. Remove any cliches like “you’re part of the problem,” from your vocabulary and any other insults. Consider asking more questions in an attempt to understand why the person holds their beliefs, and be willing to admit when you’re wrong, “woops, I did get that one wrong – sorry about that!  I learned something new today!” This will be much more effective than a war of words – no one really LISTENS to those conversations.
  1. Stop Injustices – Before we can stop injustices from happening, we have to understand what injustices are. The spectrum ranges from overt racism to discrimination and all the way down to microaggressions like racist jokes or slurs that we’ve normalized. Part of the process of educating yourself will be to discover what qualifies as a microaggression and/or an injustice.

Stopping an injustice from happening means that you don’t laugh at the racist joke. You don’t ignore an offensive word/phrase/symbol when you see it. You can start by questioning it, “did you know that’s offensive?” – maybe they didn’t and you can use this as a teachable moment. Maybe they just don’t care – in which case you’ll need to evaluate the situation to determine how you’ll handle that relationship. Is there anyone you can report the incident to? Is this a person you want to remain friends with?
When the injustices are bigger, the ability to stop it from happening can be difficult – we all witnessed that with the murder of George Floyd. If it’s impossible to stop the injustice from happening, calling for help, bearing witness and/or recording the injustice can help to ensure justice is served after the fact. I wish there was a better answer than that. I really do.
Challenge yourself: Think about injustices you’ve witnessed in the past, and practice what you would say to stop that injustice if it happens again. Often what keeps us silent is our initial shock in what we’re witnessing, and the time it takes to process and then react to the situation. No one hates role playing more than I do – but it’s a good way to get yourself prepared to stop an injustice from happening. At the end of the day, if you drop the ball, don’t be too hard on yourself. Report the situation, ensure that the involved parties are okay, and learn from the experience.
  1. Vote with Intention – When it comes to voter turnout – there is always variation between states, years, and other demographics. Most notably, more people vote in years where there is a presidential election, and less in mid-term or local elections. This is where we need to do better.

There is no doubt that the role of the President is important and everyone should certainly cast their vote for a candidate who is anti-racist and aligns with other policies deemed important to the voter. There is not always a great choice presented to us, but we must weigh the options and the possible ramifications of each option and make the decision that we believe will be best for us, and for our country.
Your civic duty does not end there. Local and State elections are far more important. Local/State officials are the ones passing legislation that will directly impact your everyday life in your immediate community. And a lot of Federal legislation starts at the Local/State levels. Plus, since less people vote in State/Local elections, your vote can really push the needle towards your preferred candidate!
We’ve all been there, voting for Federal offices and when we get to State/Local offices we are not so certain and try to remember political campaigns, or just vote down party lines. We need to do better and vote intentionally in ALL elections to ensure that the policies that are important to us and to our community are supported by our elected officials at ALL levels.
Challenge yourself: First, ensure you’re registered to vote. Even if you were registered last year, check again (I’ve been mysteriously unregistered!). Ensure you check ASAP so that if needed, you register before the deadlines in your state.
Next, make a plan! Research when the next election day is in your district, what offices are on the ballot, and who is running. This may be overwhelming, but stick with me. Pull out your calendar and set some weekly goals. If you can dedicate yourself to 1-3 offices per week (or more if you’re planning well in advance, less if you’re a procrastinator), and do the work to research each of those candidates. Challenge yourself further by giving an honest open-minded look at the “other” party and don’t just vote down party lines.  By breaking the work into smaller chunks, it’ll be easier for you to feel confident in voting intentionally in the next Local/State election.
Once you’re comfortable with these five action items, there are certainly additional ways to help. You can make charitable donations to nonprofits who align with your cause, march in a protest, write letters to your elected officials, or even run for office yourself… but don’t get so hung up on taking BIG action, that you fail to take any action at all. Absolutely everyone has the ability to start with these five action items, and as more and more people step up and take these actions, we’ll see more and more change. It took us hundreds of years to get to where we are now, this will not be an overnight success – but if we all work together, we will shorten the timeline.

 

Meg Brunson is an advocate for racial equality. Over the past few years, she’s devoted herself to learning more about the Black community and race relations in America, so that she can ensure her family, friends, community, and country are making progress towards becoming actively anti-racist. Meg is NOT an expert on this topic, but she is committed to learning, and refuses to stop working towards becoming a stronger ally.

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