Harley Davidson riders have a reputation. The poster for this community is often the local chapter of the Hell’s Angels. Even with awareness campaign, rides for charity, and open support for those defending America’s freedom, the underlying suspicion continues.
I understand the sentiment. I had no first hand evidence to support my implied accusations. Those I know personally who ride reflect deep values of compassion, kindness, and integrity. Yet, there was a “but” in my views.
Everything changed when I purchased a Harley Davidson. Whatever “they” are, I was becoming! Strangers on the street confirm the change.
Yesterday a mother’s guarded view and protective actions with her impressionable young boy yesterday reminded me that I stand accused. The wave of solidarity from two teen rebels tells me that they do not see me in the same box as their parents. The look from the woman in the pink and brown sent some kind of signal. I am not sure what, and I do not know I want to know.
I have no idea where the support for the young mother’s sentiment comes from. I would like to think I am open to people of all ages. However, I know I am far more likely to reflect a teenager’s parent views than a teen’s. Other than riding a Harley, even with careful self-examination, I did nothing to invite anyone! I am the same person off the bike as I am on. I am the same as I was before owning the Harley as I am now. My values and priorities are consistent with the past.
Yet, I stand accused, of something.
I am not the first. In addition to many that ride, others have struggled with bias. “The police arrested them and pulled them into a court with the accusation, ‘These men are disturbing the peace—dangerous Jewish agitators subverting our Roman law and order.’” (Acts 16.20, 21)
I can only hope that I will stand accused of being unconditionally compassionate. I wish I was on trial for mercy. Even an accusation of acceptance would be nice.