These are discouraging times, more than three years of abuse of power, disregard for the rule of law and the Constitution, and disdain for the rights of the states and the will of the people.  Despite all this, polls indicate a substantial number willing to vote for more of the same.  Evidently, some people haven’t been stopping by Red State.

Judging from the comments, those who do stop by have already been thinking.  These visitors may expand their views and receive some reassurance they are not alone, but they don’t need to be persuaded.  The hard-left aren’t likely to come here, and wouldn’t be receptive to other points of view anyway.  Perhaps enough open-minded individuals will stumble onto the site, change their minds, and cast the deciding votes in a very close election.  Well, maybe.

Sometimes, while doing my 43rd revision of the next article, I wonder if it does any good.  The 2010 election was promising, people seem increasingly concerned about the direction of the nation, but I imagine few of them ever read one of my articles.  The effects of an article are unknown, like putting a message in a bottle and sending it out to sea.  Letters to representatives seem to be ineffective.   My Democratic Senator must think I am Rodney Dangerfield judging from her response to my critical remarks, namely a robo e-mail reply and adding me to her fundraising list.   Did Thomas Paine or Samuel Adams have similar doubts?  Perhaps, but they never stopped providing the intellectual ammunition to keep the revolutionary spirit alive.

In war, victory is achieved by destroying the other side’s weapons faster than they can be replaced.  In a political or philosophical war, victory is achieved by demolishing the other side’s arguments faster than they can be rebuilt.  In the spirit of Paine and Adams, sites like American Thinker provide some ammunition for those on the front lines to do some demolishing, but the writer doesn’t know if his ammo was ever used.

Thinking of futility brings to mind an episode of Little House on the Prairie.   A minister was preaching in a nearly empty church, undeterred by the sound of drunken gunfire from the saloon across the street.  He wasn’t converting anyone, but kept the flock from straying so later they could exert a civilizing influence, which, in the real West, they did.

The signers of The Declaration of Independence, facing a seemingly hopeless cause, pledged to each other “…our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”   Surely, I can do no less.  Theirs is a debt yet unpaid.

Researching my family history, I discovered most of my ancestors lived through the American Revolution.  Simple farmers, mostly, they crossed what was then the country, settled new lands, and endured hardships we can only imagine in our comfortable lives.  If I can do something here, however small, it may help repay what I owe them.  Thousands of other debts are yet unpaid, the Navy pilots at Midway, the Marines at Iwo Jima, the young soldiers on Little Round Top, the ragged Continental Army, just to name a few.

But historical inspirations pale next to a real-life experience.  I was timing my daughter’s swim meet when a pretty 9-year old girl came up to swim.  She was missing the fingers on both hands.  Such a fate might have dragged many of us down, but she smiled enthusiastically as she clapped and cheered on her teammates.   If that little heroine can carry on happily, then I can sit down and write some more.

Excuse me while I brew up some tea.