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 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. -- Thomas Payne, The American Crisis

Rest in peace, GOP. You had a good run, but in the end, loyalty to a broken system weighed down the time-tested principles of the party that Lincoln built. Now you are grand only in name.

I remain hopeful that the enthusiasm of the Ron Paul Revolutionaries sustains their efforts to transform the Republican party, from the ground up, back to the party of non-interventionism and small government (even while my own energy to stay involved has waned). I do believe there is a place for (small l) libertarian ideals in American political debate and that place is not out along the fringe. And though I am a lifelong progressive, I will continue to play whatever small part I might in nudging the GOP away from neo-conservatism, which I see as a highly dangerous ideology.

It is looking more and more likely that I will have no better option than to vote for Barack Obama (EDIT: or Hillary since she did not bomb in last night’s primaries) in the 2008 election. The Democrats are no less the party of American Empire than the Republicans and I am troubled that the only two viable options in our electoral system are both agents of big government and imperialism. I have long supported the Democratic party despite their being a ship of fools, more concerned with the fringe than with the core, despite rampant political correctness, despite turning their backs on the anti-federalist principles upon which they were founded. I won’t feel at home among their ranks, but I will very likely be supporting their candidate against the war-mongering John McCain.

Cynicism and idealism are battling within me, and I fear it’s only a matter of time before cynicism once again wins the day.

Yes, I’m being dramatic. Maybe I’m overreacting a bit. But damn it, am I bummed.