I’m an optimist by nature.

Even so, sometimes I become discouraged and frustrated. Activism certainly has its ups and downs, and the downs can become downright disillusioning.

I had one of those nights earlier this week. I spoke at an event, passionately presenting the blueprint for rolling back overreaching federal power through nullification at the state and local level. But during the Q&A time, the comments were overwhelmingly negative. The whole group just seemed beaten down and defeated.

“I agree with what you’re saying, but you’re beating a dead horse.”

“It will never work. The feds will just divide and conquer by withholding federal funding.”

“The federal government will throw you in jail.”

And my favorite…

“You’re never going to defeat Obama by re-fighting the Civil War.”


Never mind I’d spent nearly an hour explaining how the strategy IS working. As one angel in the room pointed out, “Just look at the balloons!”

He was referring to the balloons on the Tenth Amendment Center Legislative tracking maps. If you take a minute to go look, you will see literally hundreds of bills and resolutions, each one representing thousands of people pushing back against federal power.

But even with countless small victories, many people simply can’t believe we wage a winnable war. They see only the expansive, intrusive, overreaching tentacles of federal power twisting through virtually every area of life.

I understand how they feel.

I feel it sometimes myself.

But then I stop and think about the odds the American colonists faced fighting the most powerful military force in the world at the time. All of the lost battles. All of the injustices, all of the pain and all of the suffering they endured.

And they won.

The next morning, feeling somewhat  dejected, I stumbled across something Thomas Paine wrote during one of the dark periods of the American Revolution.

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.


Keep up the good fight!

Mike Maharrey

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