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It fell to earth I knew not where

October 27, 2011

Starting a website and filling it with political commentary is a thankless task, and there are times when it gets discouraging. Is anybody reading and paying attention? If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

Sure, sure, JPAttitude.com recently achieved the 1,000,000 hits milestone and the chart of monthly hits soared last month, both very encouraging, but the deafening cacophony of nincompoop liberal nonsense that erupts over broadcast airwaves and spills from the publishing industry and oozes from every node of the Internet seems overwhelming at times.

What can one person accomplish amidst all that noise?

There is no doubt that proponents of individual freedom are outnumbered when it comes to the apparatus of modern communication. This is not a Republican versus Democrat thing. This is a liberty versus government thing – a good versus evil thing. Do a Google search for Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Plan and you will find thousands of links to sites which criticize the plan, question Mr. Cain's intelligence, and make light of the lack of government employment on his resume, and very few which examine the plan objectively, mention that he is by far the most intelligent man running for president (Herman Cain was ACTUALLY A ROCKET SCIENTIST, did you know that?), or admit that somebody from outside the current governmental quagmire might have the best perspective on how to fix it.

Adding to the apparent futility of fighting battles against Philistines while outnumbered, my discouragement the last few weeks has been exacerbated by health issues. I had hay fever so bad that I let a doctor talk me into a Kenalog shot. That was two weeks ago. Kenalog is an anti-inflammatory steroid which is supposed to relieve seasonal allergies – which it did – but my body reacted to the shot like it was KGB poison. I've been living in a miserable, hive-covered, itchified hell ever since I got that stupid shot... the perfect example of a cure being worse than the disease.

I went for a walk in downtown Reno this past weekend and sat down to rest near a flea-infested stray dog. We looked each other straight in the eye at one point as we simultaneously surrendered to irresistible scratching urges, and I was so struck during that brief frenzy of activity by what I felt was the spontaneous outpouring of empathy between two mutually suffering souls that I pondered the notion of bringing the poor old mutt home and adopting him as a pet. But the mangy-looking bastard quickly rose to his feet, gave me a disgusted look, and left the area. Apparently he thought I scratched too much and might be contagious.

Monday morning, I was delighted to find all of my issues addressed by one of my favorite columnists. Mike Adams is a professor of criminal justice at UNC-Wilmington and writes for Townhall.com where he battles the liberal orthodoxy of the modern college campus… and incidentally has a readership much larger than mine. (So if he’s feeling down, maybe I should be suicidal.) He was discouraged by a road trip to another university for a meeting about First Amendment issues during which the opposing attorney's main tactic was personally insulting Mike.

Lawyers – that's why nobody likes them.

And get this: while he was getting insulted, Mike was itching like crazy from a case of poison ivy. Could this story possibly sound more familiar? He even mentioned going to a clinic for a steroid shot to combat the itchiness. I wonder if it was Kenalog, and I wonder if Mike had any moments of spontaneous simpatico with stray dogs during his trip.

When you write something and post it on the Internet you never really know who and how many it will reach and affect. Mike Adams' brush with feelings of futility resulted in a column which reached right out of my computer monitor and tapped me on the shoulder. His final two paragraphs pumped me up like a deflated balloon:
"Every now and then we must also catch ourselves and make sure we recognize our blessings instead of mistakenly labeling them as curses. No man can win a culture war all by himself. But that is actually good news. It also reminds us that no man is strong enough to subvert God’s will for another man’s life. That includes your own.

"Our great constitutional experiment may occasionally be plagued by setbacks. But freedom is a process, not a result. It wouldn’t be worth defending without the prospect of losing. Just being a part of the fight is among life’s greatest blessings."
Now that I think about it, I've had some surprising and flattering evidence that I am affecting people. I’m on the radio every Saturday because of this website – that’s pretty cool. And three or four times in the last year I've been at social gatherings where I felt like a minor celebrity: "You're J.P. Travis? I love your website! I read your stuff all the time!"

And that wasn't even my mom.

I think every righteous thing we do is worth doing, however long the odds of success seem to be. Any attempt to be a righteous human being in a world of sinners is a tremendously positive and worthwhile activity, regardless of our fear that nobody is there to hear us fall.

Somebody always hears, don't worry. We are never alone in the forest.

It would be nice if Mike happened to read this feedback to his Monday column – he deserves the inspirational payback – but it would be even better if I could pay it forward and encourage somebody else… maybe at just the exact moment they needed it.

The Arrow and the Song
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.



From Reno, Nevada, USA       

November 4, 2011 - Just so you know, you're a star in Michigan! Most all of my friends and family read your articles and it goes without saying that I do too! I really look forward to them. - HardCase, Michigan

October 27, 2011 - Keep up the good fight. If Doug Ross selected you, you know you are good. - Molon Labe, Virginia

October 27, 2011 - You are read and loved so don't give up... I noticed that Hannity agreed with your last week's column about Gaddafi so he most likely is reading your website also! - Mary D., Michigan
J.P. replies: In all seriousness, I've noticed some well-known national opinion purveyors who consistently repeat what I say shortly after I say it. I almost never hear Sean Hannity, so I can't say he's one of those who copies me. But when it does happen, it doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I'm flattered. The way I see it, if somebody with a bigger audience repeats my message, that effectively magnifies my efforts. (Now I have to see if I can search out what Hannity said and compare.)

October 27, 2011 - I think I know that dog. He didn't get grouchy until the Occupy Wall Street protesters came downtown and started messing up his Feng Shui. - B.C., Reno

October 27, 2011 - Some days, I have to read your column twice to appreciate what you're saying. This is one of those days. Trust me when I say this: You, are probably the most blessed & certainly the most fortunate man alive. You just keep building this site and they WILL come. Herman Cain will be looking for you any day now. OH! and, TAKE SOME CLARITIN!!! - Still in Reno



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