A man rode into Capitol Hill today by a horse-drawn covered wagon. It was an unusual sight, even by Washington standards.
Ralph Casey, 69, set out for Washington almost six weeks ago from Lafayette, Ga.
His goal was as simple as the message across the canvas, "Going to D.C. to get answers for the small businessman."
“I was sitting around the couch, doing like everybody else -- gripe, gripe gripe -- so, like the old preacher says, You got to put a few legs on that prayer,” Casey said.
Casey has owned a horseshoeing school for 22 years. He became frustrated with the government after seeing police officers, teachers and others go to him to learn a side trade.
“I said, ‘What are you doing that for?’ They said, ‘Because I can’t make a living,’” Casey recalled. “I think that’s a doggone shame!”
The backbone of America is built on small business owners, according to Casey.
“You know, everybody cannot afford to take their automobile back to the Ford or Chevy place to get their oil changed or whatever to get something done -- they carry it to a backyard mechanic,” Casey said. “Well, that backyard mechanic is a small business owner like I am.”
He didn’t sleep in hotels. He stayed every night of the long journey in his wagon. Casey said it gave him a chance to get to know every day Americans. It’s a lesson he said the president and lawmakers could learn.
“After all, the truth is, how and the heck do you govern a country -- and I’ve owned a business for years -- if you don’t know what’s going on in the country,” Casey said.
While his covered wagon method doesn’t convey a sense of urgency, Casey does have a point to his slow and steady means of transportation.
“Somebody asked me, ‘What would you tell Congress and the president?’” Casey said. “I’d tell them to take a lot of those advisors up there and put them in a horse and wagon for 54 days -- that’s what I’ve done -- and doggone it if you don’t get in touch with the people and see what’s really going on.”
Casey doesn’t claim to be a Democrat or a Republican.
“Everybody says, ‘Do you like Obama?’ I said, ‘I don’t know the man.’ He says, ‘How about Bush?’ I said, ‘Don’t know him either.’ ‘How about Clinton?’ ‘Don’t know him either.’ So, I decided to come up. I’m old-fashioned. I can’t listen to a guy for five minutes on the TV and get to know him.”
After speaking with senators, members of Congress and Obama, Casey plans to give his two Exmoor ponies that are pulling the wagon to Sasha and Malia Obama.