America has long been on an IV drip of political poison, its vitality and well-being slowly being sapped as a result. This steady erosion of liberty has been augmented to an increased dosage in the past year under the rule and reign of Mr. Obama, his authoritarian Czars, and a socialist, statist Congress. From the outright nationalization of swaths of industries to the imposition of tens of thousands of pages of unconstitutional and oppressive legislation, this government has made clear that like a parasite, it aims to enlarge itself at the expense of its host.

For too long, the general public has tolerated this centralization of power and loss of liberty. Largely due to how slowly this process has occurred, many seem altogether unaware of how bad things really are. As Judge Andrew Napolitano has wisely noted:

Evil rarely comes upon us all at once, and liberty is rarely lost in one stroke. It happens gradually, over the years and decades and even centuries. A little stretch here, a cave in there, powers are slowly taken from the states and the people and before you know it, we have one big monster government that recognizes no restraint on its ability to tell us how to live. It claims the power to regulate any activity, tax any behavior, and demand conformity to any standard it chooses.

Over two centuries ago, Thomas Paine wrote that “we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping at the spoil of the multitude,” both summarizing the trend of government in years gone by and foretelling its future. In short, our government has grown too big, too greedy, and too powerful.

The question to be asked is: what are we doing about it?

Well, according to recent BLS statistics, an alarming 99.5% of people are doing absolutely nothing. Contrasted with the 96% of people who spend time each day on leisure and sports, one quickly sees how skewed our priorities have become. Gone are the crucial mediating institutions that held America’s fabric together; our time is now spent within the walls of our home, plugged into four hours of television per day. Our collective civic duty has seemingly been prioritized lower than cleaning out the rain gutters or finally getting the squeaky belt in the car replaced.

It’s time that this trend was reversed. With a dollar in severe decline, an overseas empire siphoning the treasure we borrow from China, a runaway federal government passing whatever laws it wants, and the Constitution growing more forgotten by being so long discarded, our voices are needed to stem the tide of statism.

The 2010 general elections are already shaping up to be a resounding rejection of the bitter poison we’ve been fed. However, if we allow this pendulum swing in the reversal of political power to simply bring back the RINOs, we will have only decreased the dosage of said poison, rather than ripping out the IV altogether.

We must identify those candidates who will best bring true change to Washington—those who will bind themselves down with the chains of the Constitution, and similarly bind down their colleagues. The need has never been greater to drastically reduce the size of government, restore sound money, dismantle the empire, eliminate burdensome taxes, and repeal a host of unconstitutional legislation.

The question to be asked is: what are you going to do about it?

Forget losing weight, reading more books, or whatever pet project you might easily think up for a new year’s resolution. The state of our so-called union is in peril, and the opportunity to reverse course next year is becoming increasingly clear. To do so, however, will require more than 0.5% of the population.

Do you love American Idol more than America? Are you more interested in Dancing with the Stars than the Stars and Stripes? Or is your time consumed with football and other spectator sports, rather than participating as a teammate in the titanic struggle between ardent patriots and authoritarian despots?

What will you sacrifice for the reclamation and perpetuation of liberty? How long must the lightly-set chains of tyranny slowly set themselves upon you before you rise up and shake them off? When and where will you finally draw a line in the sand and tell your government “this far and no further”—a line that if and when crossed will be met with your active opposition?

With an emboldened destroyer of our peace and liberty leading the way in Washington, opposing forces are marshaling in preparation for a contest of wills in the next election. We who honor and represent the timeless principles of the founding generation have the chance to reintroduce these core principles into the political fray, but in doing so must be aware of and reject those who simply want to bring Republicans to power, for the party’s sake.

Make no mistake: both major parties have been administering the toxins that have sent liberty to its death bed. A simple reversal of partisan power will do nothing to revitalize America; people have long been disenfranchised with Republican- and Democratic-controlled government alike. Both have expanded government far beyond its constitutional scope and size, and both have diminished individual liberty, albeit at different speeds and through different approaches.

2010 is a new year for patriotism—not jingoism, nor Chicago-style cronyism, nor nationalism, nor those sunshine types whose commitment is fleeting and unreliable, nor “spirit of party”, as George Washington termed and condemned it. It is time for the average American to reject the bread and circuses and re-prioritize their civic duty; to learn what once made America great and to seek to resurrect and make popular those ideas; to identify and support—with a significant investment of both time and money—those candidates for public office who will honor, sustain, and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

The time for laziness and apathy is over. Unlike losing a few pounds, a rebirth of our collective and highly-focused patriotism is not a goal we can long afford to let lapse. Americans who claim to have any shred of hope for this country’s future actually hurt the cause they profess to revere when they sit idly by and do nothing about it—as Edmund Burke said, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

As we turn towards a new year, we should each sincerely ask ourselves: what will we do about it? What sacrifice will we make? What cause will we champion? To what lengths are we willing to go in order to restore our liberties?

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that “timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.” Which side are you on?