An Exercise of Common Sense

It is my policy to neither comment or involve myself in politics and elections. Either way, in our modern times, we can all agree that these civilities have become polarized, divisive instruments which often serve to reduce and diminish the value of public discourse and tolerance moreso than to unify.  

That said, a fondly held-to habit that I have never shared is that every four years, on this most important day in these United States, I re-read Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. For any lover of the history of America, and I include myself in that group, this is possibly its most important documented text. It gave America a written voice and it continues to serve as quite the reminder.

Today, not just in this country, but around the world, we face wicked problems. There is war, there is rebellion and revolution. There is economic recession, currency inflation, cultural stagnation, climate change, and a globalism that has potentially caused as much damage as it has good. People are starving in far too many parts of this globe; children are dying. Women are struggling to gain equal rights and agency or simply to hold onto them. Terrorism is having its day, and weapons, both mass and miniature, are either taking lives or adding fear into them.

We are not living in wonderful times.

Therefore, for those of us blessed and fortunate enough to live in a country that allows a certain measure of a good life, regardless of the outcome of this election, pay heed to Mr. Paine:

“Where, instead of gazing at each other with suspicious or doubtful curiosity, let each of us hold out to his neighbour the hearty hand of friendship, and unite in drawing a line, which, like an act of oblivion, shall bury in forgetfulness every former dissension. Let the names of Whig and Tory be extinct; and let none other be heard among us, than those of a good citizen, an open and resolute friend, and a virtuous supporter of the RIGHTS OF MANKIND and of the FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES OF AMERICA.”

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