Find A Wall, Tear It Down

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June 5, 2011 by David Gillaspie

IT’S AN AMERICAN TRADITION

The names might be unfamiliar, but you live with their causes every day.

Susan B. Anthony means confusing coinage to some. Her dollar came out the same size as a quarter.

You may get quarter change for her dollar, but you can’t add value to the changes she pushed forward.

Does your Mom vote in elections? 

Does your sister vote, or wife, or any women you know?

Thank Ms Anthony for them.

Women in every state stood up when it was easier to stay down.  None stood taller in Oregon than Abigail Scott Duniway.

When someone achieves important status, they usually do it with help.

You’ve heard of Ida B. Wells-Barnett?

She rallied for equal rights for women and African-Americans.  During a Washington, D.C. suffrage march with the National American Women Suffrage Association, she was supposed to walk in the back where the other black representatives took their place.

Mrs. Wells-Barnett knew the definition of equal and found another place to march.  Years later Rosa Parks made a huge impact by following her work.

When women find a worthy cause, it becomes everyone’s cause.

Men into space?  Why not women?

Rolla Vollstedt At Indy

Men playing sports?  Why not women.

Men on the Supreme Court?  You know the drill.

Men driving machinery at death-defying speeds at the Indy 500?  You know Danica Patrick, but in a world of first or nothing, Janet Guthrie ran Indy before her.

The question here isn’t about the women race car drivers, it’s how a male car owner came to find a woman driver as the best option.

With so much invested in racing and winning, no one takes a stand on women’s rights for the sake of equality.  If getting the best driver available is the standard, how did women crack that ceiling?

By being better racers.

Rolla Vollstedt owned the car Ms Guthrie drove.  He’s also the man who put the engine behind the cockpit instead of leaving it in front.  This is a man who knows his cars and what he wants them to do.

Mr. Vollstedt knows racers, too, like Mario Andretti.

Guthrie remembers, “He always used to say, ‘Do you know what a racer is? A racer is somebody whose mortgage payment is due, whose kids are hungry and who needs tires for a race this upcoming weekend. And he has only $400. Guess how he spends the $400?’ “

Rolla Vollstedt attended the opening of Pedal to the Metal at the Oregon Historical Society in downtown Portland.  Here’s a man who’s torn down his share of walls, and you’d never know it.

The Indy 500 comes complete with a theme song Jim Nabors sings each year.  Back Home Again In Indiana isn’t a race song to drive you to the winners circle. 

Neither is Rapid Roy The Stock Car Boy, but at least Gomer Pyle isn’t singing.

There are walls to tear down, and walls to build.  Pick one or the other, and sing along.

By Jim Croce:

Oh Rapid Roy that stock car boy
He too much too believe
You know he always got an extra pack of cigarettes
Rolled up in his T-shirt sleeve
He got a tattoo on his arm that say “Baby”
He got another on that just say “Hey”
But every Sunday afternoon he is a dirt track demon
In a ’57 Chevrolet

Oh Rapid Roy that stock car boy
He’s the best driver in the land
He say that he learned to race a stock car
By runnin’ ‘shine outa Alabam’
Oh the Demolition Derby
And the Figure Eight
Is easy money in the bank
Compared to runnin’ from the man
In Oklahoma City
With a 500 gallon tank

Yea Roy so cool
That racin’ fool he don’t know what fear’s about
He do a hundred thirty mile an hour
Smilin’ at the camera
With a toothpick in his mouth
He got a girl back home
Name of Dixie Dawn
But he got honeys all along the way
And you oughta hear ‘em screamin’
For that dirt track demon
In a ’57 Chevrolet

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