Archive for the ‘Hatebusters 2007’ Category

This Glorious Day, Our Third Annual Greater Liberty Ride for MS

May 21, 2008


Saturday, May 21, 2005

By Ed Chasteen

Ethan McMenemy and Judy Vaughn are gentle on my mind this glorious day. Ethan’s dad, Seth, designed the map for day’s ride. Such a map! Shows all three routes in precise and colorful detail that Rand McNally would envy. Ethan was to have been born today. But he came a few days early and Seth has come with pictures. Judy was my student secretary at William Jewell in the early 80s. She was diagnosed with MS some five years later. Had to take disability. Volunteers with older folks now. Loves it. Hates not being able to work. Walks with a cane. Beautiful and cheerful.

These two are not physically present as riders gather in the rising sun on this cloudless day. In spirit, though, they envelope us all. From hours away some have come by car to ride with us from Biscari Brothers Bicycles in Liberty. Dave and Bob Biscari have brought other family members, friends and employees. Before the sun is up, they have set up tents, positioned an exhibit of new cars and trucks from Heartland Chevrolet and brought donated food from nearby Price Chopper and McDonald’s. Cocoa & Beans opens two hours early with free coffee for riders and workers.

Richard Mark is a Saturday Rider and captain of our United We Ride MS-150 Bike Team. He has recruited riders for our Greater Liberty Ride and arranged with Heartland Chevrolet to enhance the festive ambiance of our gathering place with a dazzling display of their vehicles.

Your Image owner and former student of mine at William Jewell, Daryn Ross, gave us 200 T-shirts for this Third Annual Greater Liberty Ride for MS. More than 100 riders have pre registered. The first two years we had about as many walk ups as registrants; that’s what we’re expecting this year. Helen Ford has been our registrar each year. Her careful and comprehensive record keeping serves us well. Long before our 7 AM start time, the parking lot fills with cars, bikes on the back. Buoyant and upbeat beyond any artificial stimulant, we ready ourselves for exhilaration and exhaustion. Precisely at 7, we’re off.

Our three routes all begin by taking us over to Mill Street. The 35 milers and the 70 milers ride together on H Highway to the Hall of Waters in Excelsior Springs and our first full service rest stop. Sharon Hanson had stopped her sag about five miles out at Liberty Hills Country Club for anyone in need. The 70 milers ride on from Excelsior Springs on Highway 10 to Richmond. David Fuller mans a sag at Elkhorn School. Then Jerry McCarter and the Richmond Chamber of Commerce greet us on their town square with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bananas, bagels, banana bread and cold water.

Back through Rayville to Excelsior Springs where the Hall of Waters is again a stop. Then about six miles from Liberty to Ann Dahl’s house. A regular Saturday Rider, Ann has just moved into her house on 112th, just off Stockdale Road. And here we have our final rest stop.

The 8-mile Family Fun Ride leaves Biscari’s at 8 AM. They follow the same route through town until they come to the entrance to William Jewell College. Where the two earlier rides bore left to H Highway, here they bear right and pedal about a mile to Lafrenz Road. Turn right and follow Lafrenz until it makes a 90-degree left turn and then a quarter mile another 90-degree right turn to Stockdale Park entrance a half-mile ahead. A rest stop cares for the children and their parents here.

I got in the habit of riding with rear panniers when I was teaching at Jewell and needed to carry books and papers. Food, tools, spare clothing and things to give away to folks I meet! These, too, have their assigned places in my panniers. And they look heavy, giving me an obvious reason for being slow. Not that I need one. When my high school newspaper, The Huntsville Hornet, wrote my senior bio, they said: “If the race between the hare and the tortoise were run, Edgar Chasten would be the tortoise.” (NOTE: No friend of mine today calls me Edgar. My name is ED.)

But even if I weren’t naturally slow, I would choose to ride last. I had asked Gary Smith to organize SAG support. From knowing him just a little at church, I had been impressed. When he said yes, I expected a good job. But perfection was more than I bargained for. From our weekly Tuesday planning meetings, though, I knew it was coming. Gary recruited Don Post and his ham radio operators. Don is confined to a wheelchair, but there is no confining his contagious spirit, agile mind and wide-ranging volunteering. Now, today, we have motorcycles and vans and cars and trucks to go with us and care for our every need. Rob Laracco, Ray Kesner and David Fuller are members with me at Second Baptist Church. David is also brother-in-law to Easel Roberts, one of our Saturday Riders. David says yes when Easel asks him to help.

But I have to ride sweep. I have to ride every mile of the route that appears on our map, the route that Rich Groves, Dale Ahle, Steve Hanson, Brian Harvey and I marked with orange road paint and arrows stapled to posts yesterday afternoon. Scores of people have worked long and hard to make this ride a success. Local businesses have signed on as sponsors: Lisa Essig, owner of McDonald’s in Liberty and Excelsior Springs; Pour Boys owner, Dennis Carter; Lou DeMarco, Manager of Liberty Price Chopper; Cecilia Lee, owner of Liberty’s UPS Store; Cheri McCullough, owner of Wabash BBQ in Excelsior Springs; Evelyn Cowsert, owner of Mill Inn in Excelsior Springs. Not one penny have we had to spend. The $25.00 each rider has paid to ride and all the money donated by our supporters goes totally to help those who suffer from MS.

Leading from Last Place. That’s how I describe to myself what I see happening here. I’m awed and amazed that this ride happens at all. Only the willingness, no that’s not quite right, the eagerness, of my friends makes it happen. I’m old and slow, soft spoken and easy going. But something deep inside keeps me talking to anyone who seems the least bit interested about my dreams of ridin’ bikes and bustin’ hate and living in a world where we all like each other and look out for one another.

Lots of hills on today’s ride. And I linger long at every rest stop, wanting to speak to everyone I see and thank them for their help. I know before the day begins that I likely will be the last one in. A part of me wishes to be back at our starting point to welcome every single rider as she/he returns. I want almost more than anything to do that. But the one thing I want more today is to come last, so that I know first hand that no rider has been left behind.

Gary DeWitt’s camera was crushed some weeks back when he was thrown from his bike and broke his shoulder. He mended fast and bought another camera. He’s our cameraman today. He has four CDs in hand as he comes up to me at ride’s end. “Here are our pictures,” he says. He has already burned CDs while I’ve been on my bike.

Dale Ahle designed and maintains our Greater Liberty web site: http://www.greaterliberty.org. Dale fired up his grill almost as soon as the first riders left this morning. By 9:30, he’s serving up hot dogs and hamburgers, assisted by daughter, Stephanie. He’s fresh out of burgers by the time I make it back at 2:30. From past times, I know that Dale’s grill work is worth waiting for. Soon another batch of hamburger is fetched from Price Chopper. And I have my burger.

Each rider today got one of our Brian Harvey designed Greater Liberty T-shirts. Brian and his wife, Cindy, are two of our regular Saturday Riders. The shirts are works of art. And when 200 folks are seen wearing these shirts over the next year, we will have to plan even bigger for next year’s Fourth Annual Greater Liberty Ride for MS.

The Mid-America Chapter of the National MS Society loaned us tents, first aid kits, coolers, road markers and yellow warning signs. They gave us MS wristbands to give out. Steve Hanson picked up these things and will return them. Steve and his wife, Sharon, are Saturday Riders. They have made eye catching rest stop signs for today.

Rich Groves, Michael Calabria and I are the Three Amigos whose weekly rides spawned our Saturday Riders. Way more than a hundred have ridden with us at least once; 20 to 30 on a regular basis. Rich has been our Greater Liberty record keeper and task manager. He is one of the most organized persons I know. Michael puts to good use his years working in sports marketing. He designed our sponsorship packets and our Greater Liberty letterhead.

Today’s ride reminds me again of what life, as I see it, is all about. Each of us is born into a world of strangers. At birth we’re all like little Ethan McMenemy. We don’t know anyone. And our purpose in life is to make as many friends as possible. Some of the friends I’ve made, made this day happen.

THANK YOU, DEAR ONES. You make my life grand beyond any words I know to use. You rode with me today on our Third Annual Greater Liberty Ride for MS. Please come next year on Saturday, May 20, 2006 for our Fourth Annual Greater Liberty Ride. These signature rides that take place every May launch, for me, what becomes a yearlong Greater Liberty Ride. I live a good part of my life on my bicycle. Bike riding is the medicine I take for my MS. If I ride, I can run. If I don’t, I can’t walk. So today’s miles were the first of more to come, as I ride other Greater Liberty miles in other Greater Liberty places. To the thousands of dollars we raised today for MS, I hope to add other thousands. All of those who rode with me today will ride with me in spirit every day in every place. We ride to set at liberty those who live with limitations imposed by MS.

LONG MAY WE RIDE.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

Web Site Development and Service provided by TakeCareOfMyWebSite.com.
Copyright (c) 2000-2008 http://www.hatebusters.com and TakeCareOfMyWebSite.com.
All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Day the Nazis Came

May 21, 2008

The Day the Nazis Came

By Ed Chasteen

With Fred Phelps, that disbarred lawyer, self-proclaimed Old Testament prophet and foul-mouthed, mean-spirited picketer of innocent victims, Topeka has problems enough. They didn’t need the Nazis. But not having learned they should go only where they are invited, these self-proclaimed Storm Troopers descended upon Topeka today. This beautiful Saturday, this 24th day of August, this Norman Rockwell Mid-America day made for picnics and swimming holes, this wondrous day was hijacked by a few Neanderthals whose ossified minds and shriveled hearts steal joy and deaden souls.

By fax a few weeks earlier the Nazis had announced their intentions. The city had granted them a permit for their two-hour rally on the State House steps. Beneath a banner put up by the State proclaiming diversity at home in Kansas, five brown-shirted men with swastikas on their arms strutted and shouted to the handful who stood before them. On horseback, bicycle, motorcycle, squad car, foot and helicopter, police by the hundreds kept watch. With orange fencing stretched across green lawns and barricades blocking all roads, the city had reduced all entry to foot traffic. The orange fencing formed holding pens; one for the Nazis and one for those who came to shout them down. The two pens were about a football field length apart. Entry to both was a single opening manned by many police. Backpacks and cell phones and all things that might become weapons were not allowed inside.

Across the street and up the block in front of another state building, the NAACP held a counter demonstration. The Governor’s representative read a proclamation. Candidates for office spoke. We sang the National Anthem and the Negro National Anthem. We said the Pledge of Allegiance. Presidents of local NAACP chapters spoke.

I don’t live in Topeka. But I was invited. Twice before I have been invited. Once to bring a team of HateBusters to town so we could by twos go into all the schools and teach our book, How To Like People Who Are not Like You. The second invitation had come when the KKK had a rally on the State House steps several years ago. Today I have been invited by Jewish friends and NAACP friends. My rule for HateBusters is that we never go anyplace unless we are invited, and we never say no when we are invited.

That fax from the Nazis promised that storm troopers would descend on Topeka. The resurrected specter of goose stepping mindless Aryans marching through the streets sprang to life with the arrival of that fax. When only five uniformed Nazis appeared it might have seemed to some onlookers that the massive police presence and the micro management put in place by the city was a gigantic waste of time and money. On the other hand, this threat of massive disruption provided city, state and federal authorities a real life opportunity to test their emergency response plan.

The Nazis and their few sympathizers were outnumbered five or six to one by those who came to oppose them. City police, State police, capital police, Washburn University police, KBI agents, FBI agents: all together hundreds in number. Men and women in police uniform on every corner. At every window. On every roof top. So it seemed to me.

I can not help but wonder how these five Nazis understand what they are seeing and hearing. Only a handful of the 350 or so who are drawn here by their presence hold any sympathy for them. Only the police presence keeps some in the crowd from doing them harm. Where do they draw the support that sends them repeatedly out to face a hostile audience? Do they ever doubt what they are saying? What kind of private lives do they lead? If these Nazis ran our country they would not allow free speech. They would do away with the very rights that caused the City of Topeka and the State of Kansas to protect them today.

I disagree with everything these neo nazis stand for. But I will defend their right to speak. To the death if necessary. I know they would not protect my right to speak. They would, in fact, silence me if they could. I will work all my life to see they never have that power. Unlike them, I believe that all people have a right to be heard. We are a weaker people when we silence people whose words and ideas we do not like. A strong people will give everyone a hearing. Then they will follow those who invite everyone to the table and offer them peace and purpose.

By their coming to Topeka this summer day, these Nazis remind us of the long winter of discontent their kind brought not long ago to our world. By their coming they rouse us from our contented state and refocus us on our never ending quest to make more perfect this union of diverse peoples known to the world as Americans and to ourselves as neighbors.

How Do We Live Together After 9-11?

May 20, 2008

Click here for How Now Do I Live My Life? essays

To make your tax deductible donation to HateBusters, make your check to Greater Liberty HateBusters. Mail to Box 442, Liberty, MO 64069

William Jewell College: My Camelot
by Ed Chasteen

Donate here.

I had been a member of the Jewell faculty for only a week when Dr. Hester took me aside. In the fatherly fashion I came to love, he said to me, “You need to find a place to settle down. You don’t have to move around to make your mark.”

Several times over the next few years, I dreamed I had left Jewell. And I would wake up in a cold sweat. Several times I was offered other jobs, once in the very place my wife and I had always said we wanted to live. We told them no. Our three children graduated from Jewell. One now is on the faculty. We still live in the only house we’ve ever owned. The one where the kids grew up and all my students came.

Fresh out of grad school I came to teach at Jewell and live in

Liberty . I fell in love with this place and these people. My book is a love offering to all the students, faculty, staff and towns people I have come to know in these 40 years.

William Jewell College: My Camelot is not for sale in any bookstore. I had 1000 copies printed and delivered to the President’s Office at William Jewell. The college will send a book to any donor to the college who sends $100.00. For $200.00, donors receive two books; for $300.00, three books. And another book for each additional hundred. It is not for sale in any bookstore. I had 1000 copies printed and delivered to the President’s Office at William Jewell. When this first 1000 books have been sent to donors, I will have another 1000 printed, and the process will be repeated. If we can repeat it 10 times, the college will have received one million dollars in donations. And I will have made my mark.

I wrote the book and gave it as a gift to the college. But for that gift to have the value I hope it has, ten thousand friends of the college will each have to send a $100.00 donation to William Jewell Camelot, Office of the President, 500 College Hill, Liberty, MO 64068, or make a donation on-line by clicking here.

“A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” Asked Robert Browning. “Ask and you shall receive,” says the Bible. I’m asking. Can we do it? We can! Will we do it? I believe we will.

Audacious Asking! For the college we love.

How Do We Live Together after 9-11?
By Ed Chasteen

I ride a bicycle. Thousands of miles every year. For the past two years some of us riders have been meeting at 7:30 every Saturday morning at the bike shop in Liberty. We ride to nearby towns for breakfast. Because I’m slow, they always let me leave first. A few minutes later, they all pass me. And I’m last. I’m now riding sweep. That’s the name we give to the rider who comes last and stops to help any other rider who has had a problem.

Now everybody in my country has had a problem. When those planes hit those towers, our world exploded. We no longer feel safe. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. And we don’t know how to put him together again. And I’m riding sweep.

When the state of Louisiana embarrassed itself back in 1988 by electing a member of the KKK to their state legislature, the governor invited my students and me to come to Louisiana and help the state redeem itself. My students and I started HateBusters and went to Louisiana. I was riding sweep.

When bigots came with their hate signs to our campus to protest a black speaker, I ran to my office and made myself a sign and ran to join them. My sign said, “These Guys Are Nuts.” The crowd began to laugh. The bigots got in their cars and went home. I was riding sweep.

When other bigots painted racist messages on a church in a nearby town, I organized a caravan of all races and religions to drive there for a rally. I was riding sweep.

When someone burned a cross in a black man’s yard in my town, I called a march from our campus to our town square, wearing our HateBusters shirts and chanting “Up with people, down with hate.” I was riding sweep.

When black churches got hate letters, I organized a love letter campaign that brought thousands of letters from all over the world offering love and support for those churches. I was riding sweep.

Those things were easy. They didn’t seem easy at the time. But what to do came easily to me then. No sooner had they happened than I just knew what I should do. Instantly and intuitively I understood what to do. And I did it. I rode sweep.

But it has been almost four years since 9-11. And what have I done? What have I said? What help have I been? I did go to Ground Zero for a week as a Salvation Army volunteer to help feed the police and firefighters who were recovering bodies. But I’ve had no answer for those who sent me emails and asked what HateBusters could do.

Four long years of grappling with 9-11 and I have not thought of even one specific action that any of us as private citizens might take to redress this tragedy. My mind keeps returning to a decision each of us could make that could deliver us individually from the mind numbing and soul killing tension that all of us are in danger of learning to live with. If we learn to live in fear, we will have died in all ways that really matter long before we draw our final breath. The coward dies many times. The brave die but once.

If we are not to die a little bit with every headline announcing the latest inhumanity, we must resolve to make ourselves into what I call World Class Persons. By my own definition, a World Class Person is one who can go anyplace at any time and talk to anyone about anything and feel safe. I must be honest with you and admit that I am not a World Class Person. I want to be. I’m making myself move in that direction. Down that road is the only place I see life.

I cannot live in a world where I fear the people I see on the street, in the paper or on my TV screen. I cannot build a fort around me to keep me safe. I’m a bridge builder. By training and by disposition. That’s who I am. And if I cannot be who I am, why do I want to live?

A bridge is of no value unless there is a road coming to it and going from it. The WCP Highway is under construction. The events on the morning of September 11, 2001 in New York City make the building of that road almost impossible. But they also make it that much more necessary.

In Man of LaMancha, Don Quixote’s friends come to him. They say to him, “Wickedness wears thick armor.” They think he is a fool. They mean to discourage him. He replies, “And for that you would have me surrender? Nay, the enchanter may confuse the outcome ten thousand times. Still must a man arise and again do battle. For the effort is sublime.”

The effort to become a World Class Person promises deliverance from the paralyzing fears that seize our minds and hearts and make us cruel. As we travel the WCP Highway we meet others who make the journey. And if we come upon one who has been wounded, we can be the Good Samaritan.

We’re riding sweep. May peace, power, purpose and joy go with us every day and all the way. This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. I will travel this day on the World Class Person Highway. I will minister to those I meet along the way whose journey has been interrupted.

I’m riding sweep.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

Web Site Development and Service provided by TakeCareOfMyWebSite.com.
Copyright (c) 2000-2008 http://www.hatebusters.com and TakeCareOfMyWebSite.com.
All rights reserved.

Maybe If We Adopted This Book

May 20, 2008

By Ed Chasteen

“Profoundly simple and simply profound, a formula for building human beings.” That’s what a reviewer called How To Like People Who Are not Like You. I wrote the book for my Race Relations class at William Jewell College. Some local business people and concerned citizens gave me money to have it printed. We gave free copies to the 500 folks who came to the recent Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration we had on campus. I just got a phone call from a teacher at Maple Woods Community College. She asked for 85 copies to give to her students. I said yes.

I dream of being able to give my book to everyone who asks and of getting more people to ask. I dream that folks will give me money to keep printing copies to give away. I dream that my book might help us all learn to like ourselves, our friends and families and folks of other races and religions. I dream that bullies and taunters and schools shooters would fast join the endangered species list and quickly become extinct. Maybe mine is an impossible dream. I have to find out.

To help make How To Like People Who Are not Like You available to all who ask, make your check to HateBusters and mail to P.O. Box 442, Liberty, MO 64069 You may also request a copy.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

Web Site Development and Service provided by TakeCareOfMyWebSite.com.
Copyright (c) 2000-2008 http://www.hatebusters.com and TakeCareOfMyWebSite.com.
All rights reserved.

My 3-minute Speech to the Human Family Reunion

May 20, 2008

By Ed Chasteen

When our friends and neighbors and those who do not like us have used all the names they know to describe who we are, there is yet more about us unseen and unknown than they or we ever will know. We are more than the sum of all our parts. No color, no culture, no creed can ever capture all that we are and might be. There are no limits on any of our souls. No one word nor combination of several words can ever do justice to who we might be or what we might do. None of us is meant to be compared to another. Each of us is his or her own standard. Tailor made in an off-the rack world, with our own spark of goodness and genius.

To remind us of this reality we began 31 years ago to hold Human Family Reunions on the campus of William Jewell College. We are met here again this night to keep alive that feeble flame constantly assaulted by morning headlines and nightly news. So overwhelming and insoluble seem our problems that surrender or attack seem our only options, when in fact neither promises deliverance.

Until we know each other who is right is the wrong question. To entertain such a question early in our acquaintance shuts doors we need to pass through if ever we are to be the World Class Persons we could become and so lead our world to the light. World Class Persons can go anyplace at anytime and talk to anyone about anything and feel safe.

Let us here assembled dedicate our hearts, minds and souls to this noble task.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

Web Site Development and Service provided by TakeCareOfMyWebSite.com.
Copyright (c) 2000-2008 http://www.hatebusters.com and TakeCareOfMyWebSite.com.
All rights reserved.