By Lawrence Diggs
8:18 AM EDT, June 28, 2012
The United States of America is the embodiment of the struggle of humanity to rise from the tyranny of feudalistic oppression. It is a laboratory where great experiments to discover the limits of human potential are performed. To quote from Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense,” “The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.” Thomas Paine has been called The Father of the American Revolution because “Common Sense,” the pamphlet he wrote laying out why the revolution was worthy of common people’s support, is credited with motivating people to come to George Washington’s aid in his darkest hour. John Adams said, “Without the pen of the author of ‘Common Sense,’ the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.”
Throughout the history of most nation states, most people have been oppressed by their “kings” or chiefs and those close to those kings and chiefs. These “leaders” got their power mostly by bullying people into accepting such arrangements or finding some “religious leader” to con people into believing it was “the will of the gods.” All land and means of production as well as people’s lives were controlled by these bullies and con artists.
When America established “commonism,” a system of government of, for and by common people, it created a new model for people around the world to aspire to. And the more common people learned of it, the more they liked it. People around the world have used the speeches of Thomas Paine and the other founding fathers of America to rally for freedom from their local tyrants.
From the beginning, however, there have been people who have been distrustful and disdainful of the notion of “common” people ruling themselves. At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a woman as he left Independence Hall, “Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” There were also attempts to make George Washington king. Fortunately for the world, he refused.
Some people trust only violence or the threat of violence to govern. Some trust only religion.
These days the biggest threats to our republic come from those who would replace a government of, for and by common people with a feudalistic business oligarchy.
They want to reduce a government, which has the legal obligation to take care of all of the people, to the point they can “ drown it in the bathtub.” They would replace it with feudalistic business lords and kings who would control all resources, assert the right of ownership of everything from personal information to our DNA and only have a legal obligation to look after their own interest. Go figure.
We need to return to the ideas contained in “Common Sense.” We need to add to our public discourse the ideas contained in another of Thomas Paine’s books, “The Rights of Man,” to understand the depth and importance of the ideas that make America a republic worth keeping. These ideas are beacons to the world’s oppressed people. These are the ideas the founding fathers and their supporters had in mind when they created these United States of America. These are still good ideas.
Happy birthday, USA.
Lawrence Diggs, Roslyn, is an author and professional public speaker. Write him at email@example.com.
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