"Pardon me," he said. "Can you tell me where there is park nearby?" It was late afternoon and broiling hot outside. "Sure," I said. I gave him directions to two. He sat down on the grass near my bus. I offered him water. "Been riding far?" I asked. "About 38 miles today," he said.
Not just New Mexico but the world, he said, was no longer to his liking. "Unemployment?" he snorted. "Oh, you can find a job you might get a living wage. But is a living wage? Enough so you can eat? — Eating baloney sandwiches, maybe. It wasn't always like that, not in my life time.
"You know they have MOABs (Mother of all Bombs) in Syria, and this we have president kills people out of the sky."
He shook his head. "I was a farmer for 18 years until November."
He pauses and rolls a cigarette in the short thin paper that comes with Bugler tobacco. "They've done away with habeas corpus today. There are no civil rights anymore. They can hold you for anything. We go around the world invading countries in the name of freedom, and we destroy it at home."
My guest was tired. He sat in a full lotus position until his legs began to cramp. He stretched. His bike was a big one, solid and heavily and loaded down with most of his possessions.
|"We live in a world of NewSpeak values."|
"I guess I'm here," he said
I've met a lot of men and women like Matthew Smith. They grew up in one world and now struggle to live in another.
Like many, Matthew embraces parts of the new order and while decrying changes he doesn't like.
He uses his cell phone to access Genesis Communications Network for news. He is a fan of the Alex Jones Show. (Jones, in a blurb about his show shows, claims he sorts through "government cover-ups, mass media red herrings, and corporate scandals" to give Americans what they need — information withheld or ignored by the mainstream media.)
Matthew disgests what he hears. The police state is here, he says. "Do you know Homeland Security is buying 450 million rounds of .40 caliber hollow point ammunition? For what? To use against civilians?"
(I was curious so I went on line to check it out. I found this video.)
He credits Aldous Huxley and George Orwell for warning us of what was coming.. He blames America for acquiescing to a big brother state of NewSpeak political values and terms, and embracing consumerism — where going to war is keeping the peace, and going in debt is living well.
|U.S. Flag on his chest|
Smith is not anti-American or anti-military. He wears a blue sleeveless T-shirt with a flag of the United States in he shape of a map of the country on it, below a red bandana.
Many of his friends, he says, are veterans. Some died in the streets. "We did that to them."
"You ask where I'm going?" he says, getting up and walking to his bike.
I tell him there is park close by on the Rio Grande, that the water is high and cold. He should be able to find shade.
"You ask where I'm going?" he repeats. "I think that's a question we all should be asking." And he pedals off.