Monday, September 01, 2008

Thomas Paine published "Common Sense" one year and two months after he arrived in America.

George Washington said "Common Sense" "worked a powerful change in the minds of many men."

Thomas Paine was the immigrant who walked in and said, "You guys mean this, right?"

"Common Sense" made people who hadn't thought of it before think about breaking with Great Britain. And it made the reasons to do that big, having to do with the intrinsic worth and quality of each and every person who read "Common Sense."

The run-up to the American Revolution was filled with money squabbles. The intellectual world was filled with ideas of the rights of men, which didn't even mean all males, but meant lots more people having political power than had had it before.

Paine wrote short tracts that were read by thousands about how everyone should have a say in how they were governed and taxed. He wrote well, short, excitingly. And so many people read his tracts that they were easy to strike up a conversation about. They became part of what the people of that time and place, as a group, knew.

By his writing, Paine helped make what the American Revoltuion was about bigger.

By helping make what the American Revolution was about be bigger, he helped make we, the people of the United States of America be an inspiration to the world and a bunch of blaring hypocrites.

Shortening the distance between USA, the place where freedom becomes real, and USA, self-serving and money-centric, is work always available to anyone happy or unhappy here.

We mean this, right?