The Final American Clarion Article

American ClarionAfter 12 and a half years, American Clarion and its parent company/website Dakota Voice are coming to an end.

No more articles will be published here after this one, and in all likelihood, the website will be completely shut down when the current web hosting subscription expires in early September.

It’s been a heck of a 12-year ride. This enterprise took me to nearly 100 South Dakota towns when we were in print, and to so many countries around the world from our online presence. In addition to the story told by the web hit statistics, I’ve heard from readers in England, France, Iraq, Australia and more. This endeavor has taken a nobody like me to the halls of power in my state government, and a few in Washington D.C. a number of times. The website has been linked to by Rush Limbaugh, USA Today, the BBC, and many other prominent news sources…and despite my best efforts, it’s been the target of some pretty brutal virus and denial-of-service attacks (no doubt from some of our “fans”). I’ve been interviewed by NPR, Newsweek, NBC, Newsweek, BBC and others-sometimes fairly, sometimes intended as hit pieces on conservatism.

Not a bad footprint for a little one-horse operation from western South Dakota, and any glory goes to God.

I’ve debated with myself for more than a month on the tone I wanted to convey in writing this last article of American Clarion. I didn’t want to convey a tone of defeat or bitterness; that’s not what American Clarion has ever been about (from Day One, it’s always been about strength and winning) because tones of bitterness and loss are invariably seized upon by feckless enemies and brandished as “sour grapes” as well as cause for their joy in feeling victorious over what is right. But at the same time, one of the things that has set Dakota Voice/American Clarion apart from the overwhelming majority of other political outlets has been unvarnished candor. So after a whole lot of back and forth in my own heart and mind, I’ve decided to go out the way Dakota Voice came in back in 2005, when some of our earliest articles took on liberals in both parties: just telling it like it is.

I’m not looking for either pity or back-patting from anyone, just offering an explanation to those who care as to why the website is shutting down. I could say it was bitterness and disappointment over the disgusting state of the Right (indeed, what was once the land of the free and the home of the brave, in general) that led to this. Thanks to the near-total gutlessness and stupidity exhibited by the overwhelming majority of the Right in the past couple of years, I definitely feel more of both of these than one should ever have to. There is tremendous disappointment at having watched the party I’ve cheered for since I was 13 years old behave like Democrats during most of the Bush II years, then get thrown out of power in 2006, then fail to learn from that mistake and nominate a RINO presidential candidate in 2008, then in desperation be given the U.S. House back in 2010, only to nominate yet another RINO presidential candidate in 2012 and have several of the 2010 class sell out the conservatives who put them there, send still more RINOs to congress in 2014, then reject a real conservative warrior in 2016 in favor of the biggest RINO ever to receive the GOP presidential nomination.

Yeah, and having watched not only rank and file RINOs make these things happen, but in 2016 to actually watch many conservatives whom I’d been in the trenches with completely whore their professed values out in support of a Democrat who slapped an “R” after his name? After all the disappointments, that may just have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. So much so that I hardly even feel the energy to issue a much-deserved “I told you so” now that we’ve seen Donald Trump and a majority “Republican” congress turn around and royally screw their own supporters with refusals to end Roe v. Wade, counterfeit marriage, funding for Planned Parenthood, refugee resettlement from terrorist havens, funding for sanctuary cities, refusal to rein in our out-of-control rogue judiciary, or even repeal the biggest campaign idol of the last seven years: ObamaCare. The frauds for whom conservatives whored out their values have now done what is typically done with whores, and it was all so predictable that “I told you so” is virtually boring.

In the past couple of years, I’ve watched “conservatives” give up on limited government and embrace big government policies (so long as they benefit from those policies), claim that candidates who have liberal records going back YEARS are somehow going to produce conservative policies just because those candidates say so, and I’ve had “conservatives” castigate me for refusing to support liberal policies and liberal candidates (the ones that had the magic “R” after their names, that is). I’ve also been called a “purist” more times in the past year or so by “conservatives” and “Christians” (you know, the people who are supposedly most committed to upholding a standard) than I have by the RINOs who have historically been the ones to hurl the word as a pejorative.

If I had nothing better to do, it would be one thing, but with my time and energy needed for family, church participation, paying the bills, and so forth…I just can’t continue showing up for extra duty in such an upside-down, hypocritical world where most of the people who claim to believe in our cause have actually deserted us and gone over to assist the enemy.  This is a world where the people who claim to believe what you believe are actually propping up the traitors who are selling out everything you believe in. And they’ll turn on you in a heartbeat for not running with the pack; I know, because I’ve been turned on by “conservatives” (not just Leftists and/or Democrats-I expect that-and not even just RINOs, but conservatives) for supporting conservatism over liberalism more times than I can count in recent years.  Remember that scene from Braveheart where Wallace rips off the helmet/mask of his enemy, only to find the face of the man he thought was his ally?  Remember Wallace’s reaction? I’ve been punched in the stomach with that feeling way, way too many times in the past few years. To say that being attacked by your “allies” takes the wind out your sails is a vast understatement.

Having been an activist conservative Christian in the trenches for over 20 years, I’m used to insults, so I’m somewhat hardened to the intended effect.  But waking up and realizing that the camp you were in (one you thought that, while limited in numbers, still had enough committed warriors to pull off a victory) is now largely empty except for a few tired and bloodied fighters? I don’t mind personal insults. I expect them from the Left. The worst part of it isn’t even quite so much that now they’ve come from (former) allies. No, the truly sad thing about such behavior from “conservatives” and “Christians” is what it says about the pathetically shallow and sparse state of what I thought not too long ago was a movement capable of restoring our nation to the values we used to claim we believed in.  I’ve now reached the inescapable conclusion that there no longer remains the character or the necessary number of committed conservatives to change the direction of this suicidal culture.

I’ve tried to point it out so many times and in so many ways, I’ve just lost count, but the truth can never and will never change: you can’t keep applauding and electing people who betray your values and principles, and have any expectation that your values and principles will ever, ever be advanced in the public arena. Apparently this simple truth is one that the majority of conservatives and Christians simply aren’t willing to come to terms with.

There comes a point when even Christ himself, the Creator of the universe, has had enough and decides to stop wasting his time with people who aren’t serious. Christ even told his followers to shake the dust off their shoes and move on when people refuse to listen to what is right. Yeah, I’m there. While there remain a few determined and uncompromising warriors, the overwhelming majority of the Right has in the past 2+ years demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that it is not serious about drawing a line in the sand and pushing back against the Leftist rot that infests our government, our culture, and both major political parties. The overwhelming majority of the Right (including most conservatives and most Christians) has proven it is quite fine with embracing that rot, so long as the vehicle of rot has taken unto itself the magic “R” which is credited unto it as righteousness. Seriously, conservatives and Christians peddling liberals with an “R” after their name as “principled,” as examples of conservatism, as champions of our values who could be relied on? That kind of deception and self delusion has no place in a conservative movement or any other movement that is serious about accomplishing its stated goals.No, I just can’t join in that blind, hypocritical crapfest, and I make no apologies for refusing the invitation.

If the conservative movement is now about endorsing whatever choice is slightly better than the worst possible option, and if it’s about embracing evil so long as it has a mixer to water it down just a little (and the conclusion is inescapable that for the majority of the conservative movement, it is), then count me out. Educational and informational seminars and events are good, but if the people attending aren’t going to use that knowledge to take action, it’s all a big waste of time and energy; that’s why I’ve hardly attended any political gatherings in the last year or two. The people found at these gatherings aren’t evil people; I just have more productive ways of spending my time than with people who are playing around and pretending they want to make things better. The Vietnam War was worth fighting, and the only shameful thing about it was that we played around and didn’t fight to win. Apparently a lot of people failed to learn that costly lesson and apply it to the political battlefield.

I could blame the end of the road for American Clarion all on these disappointments, but although there is certainly some measure of this involved, it isn’t close to the whole reason.

From the beginning, I wrote the articles I did because I believed God wanted me to remind good people of the things that are right, and with the encouragement that those things are winning principles.  I felt the call of God from places like Ezekiel 3:17-19:

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for[a] his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.”

And 2 Corinthians 10:5:

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ

I honestly believed that the people on the Right (especially conservatives and Christians) just needed an avenue through which they could reliably get the facts, and they’d turn around and use those facts to fight for the values we all claimed to believe in. I fully believed that conservatives and Christians just needed some encouragement to press forward, someone to set the example by sticking their neck out there and fearlessly taking on the poisonous lies of the Left; if they saw someone who didn’t take crap from the Left, but took the fight on the offensive to the Left, they’d be inspired to jump in the thick of it themselves. From the time I moved forward on what I believed was God’s instruction to me to tell the truth in the public square, that truth was a fire in my bones, and even when I was battle-weary from the reckless hate of the Left and the feckless betrayals on the Right, I couldn’t help but continue speaking out for that truth. I felt like the rocks themselves would cry out if I did not.  I’ve felt that fire for more than 20 years, going back to the time when I was just writing letters to the editor regularly, then as I landed a column on a national website, and for the past 12 years as I’ve published my own newspaper and website.

But for the past several months, that fire has gone out. I haven’t felt like there was much of anything God wanted me to say. I’ve tried to force it a few times, but in the end, I doubt the outcome was worth it.  It feels strange, not sensing that fire in my bones, not having something to say that I virtually cannot stop from coming out of my fingers and into the keyboard.  Where there has been a voice in my ear for over 20 years constantly saying, “Go, say, do…”, now the silence is incredibly odd. I’m not saying that everything I said or wrote was divinely inspired (every human being has a predilection for substituting their will for God’s will), but I always believed that my ability to write in the political realm was something I received from God. And now it seems he has silenced that gift, which is his right. Any ability I’ve ever had was from Him, and belongs to him.  If I had the ability to write articles with impact without God’s blessing, I might just be hard-headed enough to keep on doing this despite all that I’ve outlined above; maybe taking that gift from me is the only way God has to get through to me with the message “This isn’t what I want you doing right now.”

Finally, it has become inescapably apparent to me in the past 6 months or so that I need to be involved with my health and my family far more right now than I need to be involved in the political realm (and as I’ve mentioned before, a lot of the political realm would say “good riddance” to my departure anyway).  A man only has so much time, energy, emotion, mental focus and so on in a day.  I knew going into Dakota Voice/American Clarion 12 years ago that it would take a sacrifice of my time and energy that might otherwise go to my home life. I now realize both my family and my personal health could have used that time and energy; given the state of the political landscape 12 years after I started, I can only guess that my time might have been better invested in my own health and family, instead of wasted in a doomed effort to turn my state and nation back to our traditional principles. Perhaps now I’ll have a chance to spend more time on some things that really matter.  Who knows; maybe I’ll convince my wife to teach me to play the piano (I’ve always wished I could express myself musically).

God ALWAYS has something each one of his people should be doing.  Since I was 13, my burning interest has been politics and world events. Right now, I don’t know just what mission God has for me next. For now, I’m trying to be a better husband and father-and for all I know, that may be my best and only mission for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, I’d encourage you-one of that remnant of people who is still dedicated to what is right-to stay informed (as I will be) by patronizing good sources of information that won’t whore out their values, that won’t water down the truth to curry favor with feckless betrayers of what we believe in, that will tell the truth even when it costs them. Here in South Dakota, a continuing source is the Right Side; I wish there were more, but the Right has become so corrupted here that most of the good people have beaten into silence or seduced into joining the dark side.  Nationally, you can find the straight stuff at places like RedState and Resurgent.  Don’t waste your time on “Right” wing propaganda sites (that use to be reliable) like Breitbart, Drudge and Fox News. And now that Rush Limbaugh can no longer be relied on to stand for conservatism, Steve Deace is my go-to guy on a daily basis (and in addition to hard-hitting conservatism, Deace brings to the table what Rush Limbaugh never did: the life-transforming Truth of a Biblical worldview).

My deep, heartfelt thanks go out to the readers over all these years; YOU are reason why we’ve been here, day in and day out, and it’s a pity there aren’t more like you who aren’t just looking to have your ears tickled. My most sincere thanks also go to the many contributing writers who have shared the passions of their hearts and minds at Dakota Voice and American Clarion. And I am so grateful to those commenters, regular and periodic, who have spent their time here to affirm what is right in the comments section, and to stand alongside the writers for what is right. You have all made this endeavor possible, and it could not have made it this far without your encouragement. I pray God’s richest blessings on you for your part in this.

By God’s grace and in His timing, I expect that sooner or later, I’ll be re-engaging in the worldview/public policy arena eventually. In the meantime, if I get an itch that needs scratching, if God seems to give me something to say, I might just post it at the American Clarion Facebook feed-so keep an eye on that feed, if you’re interested.

Until then, grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. – Ephesians 6:13

This article is printed with the permission of the author(s). Opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of American Clarion or Dakota Voice LLC.

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  1. Kevin Loving says:

    Thank You Bob for your service to our Country and to ME! I wish it were different my friend, however; we both know who will ultimately win this war! Thank God for his Word! I hope you the VERY best Bob. I will miss you!

    • Bob Ellis says:

      Thanks very much, Kevin. It was my honor to serve you and our country (and hopefully that service will continue, even if in a different way). Not every battle is won, and not every soldier survives a war intact…but you’re right: we do know who wins this war ultimately, and for that I am profoundly grateful to have been rescued and adopted into the winning side.

      Grace and peace to you!

  2. WXRGina says:

    Bob, I want to thank you for giving me my first platform on the Internet with Dakota Voice. This is a sad day, but I fully understand. I’ve been discouraged for quite a while now, too, a fact to which my dwindling number of columns attests. Being a broken record gets old, especially when nothing changes but continues on the downward slide.

    You are a rare talent. Your ability in writing, expression and Christian and conservative apologetics are second to none. I admire you greatly, and I know your work will be missed.

    • Thisoldspouse says:

      The “conservative” goalposts have been moved to BEYOND where even liberalism/leftism was a couple of decades ago. Unbelievable and surreal – and horrifying. Now, the Party of conservatism is furiously concocting nationalized “health care.” Could we ever have envisioned that?

    • Bob Ellis says:

      Thanks, Gina. It was a pleasure to publish your columns. The kind of research you do and the fire you put into it are rare.

  3. A. Castellitto says:

    Things are so upside down, that trump is still being painted as too extreme and he’s basically a moderate…. That’s how buried true conservative principles have become

    • Bob Ellis says:

      Yeah. I think it says more about the tribalism that affects both sides of the aisle, than anything. You’re correct to point out that it’s nutty for the Left to react to Trump so harshly (he was one of them for years, and still mostly is). Their ideologies aren’t that far apart…but when he put on the blessed “R” which imputes righteousness unto him, he left their tribe, and so now he’s an enemy, just as putting on the blessed “R” made him a darling of Republicans and conservatives, even though he continues to support the homosexual/transgender agenda, progressive taxation, socialized health care, et al.

      • A. Castellitto says:

        I also think we’ve been duped for a while with true colors now showing, including closeted gop officials & reps….. Was George H conservative?

        • Bob Ellis says:

          George H.W. Bush wasn’t a conservative by any stretch of the imagination (though today he might seem conservative in comparison). Pretty much everyone who as a living adult during the Reagan years knew HW wasn’t a conservative.

          • A. Castellitto says:

            Yeah, that’s definitely the impression I have of him….. W. was a fraud….. And Reagan was more of an enigma that somehow got thru….. Was the gop ever conservative? The platform is a smoke screen. And Paul Ryan is trying to shove obamaCare2 down out throats….. They all kinda suck….I hate politics…..

            • Bob Ellis says:

              The GOP has probably always had chameleons and frauds that didn’t share its values. However, it WAS founded on conservative principles such as liberty and full constitutional protections for all Americans. The Republican leadership has gone progressively (yes, there’s a pun there) worse mainly because its rank-and-file membership, as well as the American people in general, have failed to hold them accountable to their own stated and documented principles.

          • Thisoldspouse says:

            It was easy to fake conservatism when the ambient cultural norm was considerably more so. But that facade has been stripped from the pretenders when the culture moved.

      • A. Castellitto says:

        Trump is moderate by today’s standards, not constitutional standards

        • Bob Ellis says:

          It’s important to remember that today, there are no liberals. None. Think about it: you NEVER year media, pop culture, et al refer to “liberal politician this” or “liberal candidate that.” There are only conservatives and “moderates.” Which tells you what the “moderates” really are.

  4. Thisoldspouse says:

    I’m almost crying here, Bob. I can surely understand your decision, it’s hard to be a lone voice in the wilderness when you learn that your supposed “friends” are actually your tacit enemies in practice. I have never been so amaze at the foundationless fervor heaped on Trump by so-called “conservatives,” and then hear them make excuses for the outright BETRAYAL on his promises within month’s of his election and inauguration (prosecution of Hillary, repeal of CommieCare, real religious freedom assertion, etc. etc. etc.). Thank God that Hillary wasn’t elected, but I suspect that you would have had more motivation to stay a loud voice on the web if she had been. It’s highly depressing to be betrayed by friends.

    Good luck and God bless you in your new endeavors. It’s a trite and secular slogan, but I’ll say it: The best revenge is living well.

    Live well and prosper, Bob.

  5. retiredday says:

    Bob, I too identify with that feeling of being called to be a watchman and to destroy arguments raised against the knowledge of God. And also with the idea that by speaking the truth people would be positively influenced to seek the truth themselves. It’s that wanting to make a difference feeling. But similar to you, I have been shocked and mortified by the prevailing apathy of society — even among Christian conservatives. Too few people are willing to close ranks as things seem to get tougher.

    But none of us can stay in the trenches forever. It is something we can only do for a season. I applaud what you have done, and thank you for allowing me to participate in the mission at American Clarion/Dakota Voice. I was just a guy who’s hobby was writing. But I’ll never forget the thrill of seeing my first article published by you. It encouraged me and gave me the confidence to write more, something I had never anticipated I would do in retirement.

    As our society decays morally and politically, and we don’t seem to be able to “change the world” for the better, remember to keep the faith and keep speaking the truth. We are called to be witnesses to our families and neighbors. If they won’t listen, then let them be and talk to the next person. Jesus has it all in hand, and he knows what he’s doing. God bless you and your family as you enter the next chapter of your life. And thanks again for the great job you have done in carrying the torch for truth.

    • Bob Ellis says:

      Thanks very much for your kind words, and for all the contributions you’ve made. They’ve been greatly appreciated.

      Grace and peace to you.

  6. DCM7 says:

    American Clarion will be missed as a voice of hard, blunt truth which is too rarely heard these days.

    Bob, thanks for giving me the chance to hone my minimal writing skills. I remember how long I would struggle to come up with one article, while you were tossing out *comments* in 10 minutes that would outdo, in both length and insightfulness, anything I could come up with in weeks!

    It’s one thing that there will be no new American Clarion (or Dakota Voice) articles, but it makes me especially sad that the existing ones will soon no longer be accessible.

    • Bob Ellis says:

      Thanks for your kind words.

      It was an honor publishing your articles. They were always insightful, informative, and written with a great deal of “tough love” compassion.

      If I had my druthers, I’d leave AC and DV up, but it costs money even to pay for passive web hosting, and without new articles to drive hits and thus ad revenue, there won’t be a revenue stream to pay for it soon. I have them backed up, but that does no one any good but me.

  7. Bob my dear brother, thanks so much for your efforts these past years for none of it
    was ever in vain! Never think that it has been. You are indeed a true
    watchmen and held not your voice back! You have been a beacon for us and
    many with your passion and love for America and for the old ways and
    paths of our Founding Fathers which I thank you! Thanks for letting me
    share and give the biblical perspective on political parties, politics
    and current events in light of our day on the Dakota Voice and American
    Clarion. I can’t tell you what a blessing it is to me that you have a saving
    relationship to Jesus Christ in Spirit and Truth and in it all your hope
    is in Jesus Christ and also you are just one of a few that let their
    readers have that biblical insight among the hundreds of conservative
    blogs out there that do not; for that is the true message America needs to hear and that is the message greatly missing here in America.

    God speed my dear brother in All of Almighty God’s highest and best for you in His PERFECT will!

    Eph. 3:20-21!
    The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!