Full attention

Because this happens to be the anniversary of our first days on the road, occasionally Deb and I have lapsed into reminiscing — not to the point of distraction, simply fond remembering of where we were at this time last year. Trying to resist that would be futile.

Last May 2nd we pulled up stakes in Terre Haute and drew a bead on a destination 200 miles due west. The best route, however, had us going almost half-again that far, taking us southwest to St. Louis before running north to Louisiana, Missouri.

Toward the end of that day we crossed the Rubicon — the Mississippi, that is — and entered The West. Symbolically and literally we committed to the journey.

Ernie wouldn’t see The Big River again until March 16th of this year.

Here in the present day, the beat goes on at Second Chance Ranch. My strained back continues to heal, though slowly. We’re still purging our accumulated stuff and packing boxes. I paid bills this morning. Tomorrow we’ll cast our votes in Ohio’s Republican primary, after which we’ll pick up an order of fresh Angus beef from the farm owned by our preferred gubernatorial candidate.

We’re at once anxious to begin our new life in The Ozarks and frustrated by developments here that impede our progress. Wishing doesn’t make a thing so — but working does, and one step at a time we’re advancing confidently in the direction of our dreams.

We just thought it’d go faster than this.

Deb and I had just settled in for the night on May 2nd, 2011 when we heard cable news report that POTUS #44 would address the American People at 10:30pm. We sat up, switched on the bedside light and traded theories until we learned that the subject of the remarks would be “national security.”

“Bin Laden!” I whispered, scarcely able to believe what I was saying. “It’s gotta be bin Laden.”

The network anchor confirmed my speculation a few minutes later. We jumped out of bed and woke our 16-year-old. The three of us gathered around the TV in the kitchen.

I pulled a fresh bottle of Jack Daniels from the cabinet, broke the seal and poured shots. We raised our glasses to the bastard’s demise — accompanied by the toast, “Vengeance is mine, motherfucker!” — as the official announcement was delivered around 11:35pm. Tears of righteous rage welled in our eyes.

The boy returned to bed when the speech was over. Deb and I adjourned to the front porch, lit cigarettes and sat quietly, listening to the rain. A pair of whitetails grazed nearby.

The next morning, of course, Americans were bursting with patriotic pride and celebrating the long-awaited assassination of this Islamist butcher. Beyond that, for practical purposes, we all knew that little had changed.

(Well, actually, I did need to find new rifle targets.)

The “war on terror” didn’t end when DEVGRU shot a smelly bearded man in the face. His ancestors had hated the kafir for thousands of years before he was born, and his descendants will be at war with us for all time.

The American populace has resumed its trademark complacency, retreating into the illusion of safety. This nation remains a soft target for enemies foreign and domestic.

It’s the latter, of course, which pose the greater danger. Domestic enemies are a far more serious threat to our future than radical Islamists could ever be.

I don’t mean the manufactured menace of “white nationalism” or “homegrown extremism.” No, I’m talking about our own government and the Permanent State. As James Madison said in 1788,

“There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

If you prefer the poetry of T.S. Eliot to the plea of a Patriot,

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

We, the People, allowed a misbegotten “Patriot Act” to do irreparable harm to our Liberty. Less than 20 years later, as if to prove that we’d learned nothing, we sat on our entitled asses and let thousands of “public health” decrees devastate American life, culture and commerce. In both cases the remedy destroyed more lives than it promised to save.

Today we’re living under the boot-heel of a progressive regime that’s crushed domestic energy production, refuses to defend against an invasion at our southern border, supports the indoctrination and physical mutilation of American children, works to disarm law-abiding citizens and now will establish an agency dedicated to its manifest contempt for free speech.

If you’re looking for a gauge of how far we’ve fallen from the Founders, there’s a long-and-growing list of major media — including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, NBC News, CBS News, and CNN — expressing support for the newly minted Disinformation Governance Board.

To be clear, the mainstream press is lining up behind restrictions on the First Amendment.

It’s the same collective smugness that makes terrorist attacks possible, destroys public trust in science and medicine, places compassion over law, trades essential Liberty for the mirage of security and puts a feeble old man in the Oval Office. And it creates a national character that cannot be sustained.

The Unmaking of America is “gradual and silent,” a mere “whimper.” Some of us see it. Too many of us don’t.

One year ago today: We continued to push west, landing in the Mississippi River town of Louisiana, Missouri.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB