Who was the Original Common Sense Tom?

 

Upon setting up shop @WordPress, back in January 2016, I opted-in to the screen-name CommonSenseTom. That’s my historical link to the English / American journalist and political radical, Thomas Paine (b. 1737 – d. 1809), who authored Common Sense (his content advocating American Independence from Great Britain).

Little doubt, his anti-subjugation sentiments had links to his proper upbringing re a closely related matter. This brief passage from Paine’s bio will elaborate…

“He grew up in a Quaker family in Thetford, England. The Quakers were some of the first people to condemn slavery and the slave trade. Both in England and America, the Quakers expressed their beliefs in freedom for all men. Quaker societies cut ties with the slave trade and demanded that all men followed in their footsteps. Thomas Paine remained close to the roots, by seeking out the Quaker community in Philadelphia.”

[read more here]

As for the actual intensity of Paine’s condemnation of slavery? Well, that’d depend upon which historian you ask. Personality-wise, some peg him as a quiet Englishman, who felt that his own countrymen’s enslavement of Africans had rendered him a far from credible opponent.

Personally, I believe that’d have made him the perfect man for the job.

However, history is clear on one matter. Paine had never owned slaves. And that, in itself, would certainly prove him far more enlightened and evolved than many of his revolutionary contemporaries.

Had an overwhelming majority of my homeland’s Founding Fathers harbored Thomas Paine’s beliefs, early Americans could’ve simultaneously freed themselves from England and the slaves from “America”. Those quotation marks represent my editorial comment… i.e., a nation that enslaves anyone is not America.

Had Black Lives Mattered when we had won our Revolutionary War, just imagine how much better off American society would be by now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From a Pacifist Pragmatist’s Perspective

 

As a pacifist… I do find it disconcerting whenever I find myself needing to side with the warrior mentality…

As a pacifist… I would love to side with any leader who’d withdraw his troops to end a war…

As for the BIG HOWEVER let’s just sum it up thusly….

As a pragmatist… I know that a leader who EITHER wages a war OR inherits it from his predecessor does have a moral obligation to [1] maintain the safety and well-being of the civilian population as much as possible, [2], keep his troops out of needless danger, [3] clean up the whole effing mess that war always leaves behind, [4] make damned sure that any of the blood splattered gains there may’ve been will never be sacrificed AND [5] once / if it is ever established, keep the peace!

Donald J. Trump’s recent, ill-advised, ill-timed, ill-conceived, ill-thought-out, ill-tempered withdrawal of troops from Syria has amply proven to the entire world that he is neither a pacifist nor a pragmatist. The needless human suffering and incalculable instability he has inflicted upon our world is indefensible and unforgivable.

 

 

 

 

The Original Common Sense Tom (99 Word Blog #081)

 

On this very day, January 10, 1776, egalitarian Thomas Paine published his pamphlet… Common Sense.

Within those 48 pages, he presented his moral and political beliefs to the 13 Colonies’ inhabitants… i.e., that ALL people are EQUAL… deserve EQUAL RIGHTS and OPPORTUNITIES… that it was time to declare independence from England.

On this day, January 10, 2017, this egalitarian blogger CommonSenseTom, echoes and slightly updates the original Common Sense Tom’s timeless sentiments.

We MUST declare our independence from Russia… MUST NEVER accept Vladimir Putin’s hacking into America’s “free” elections AND attempts to mutate #45 into a string jerkable puppet.

 

 

A Neighborly O’er the Backyard Fence Chat

Just a few days ago, while taking five from my yard work (mowing down dandelions), I struck up a conversation with my next-door neighbor. We wound up chatting about Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders… eventually agreeing that, as the next POTUS, the more moderate HC could cope a bit better with the U.S. Congress.

In keeping in that neighborly spirit… in the spirit of moderation… let’s engage in an o’er the backyard fence chat…

Yes… right here… right now… in this blog.

Well… after I had gotten back to my yard work, last week, I was feeling alive again… and this went way beyond spring fever. I realized that my chat had been a turning point. This staunch liberal had taken his first steps onto the more centrist path of HC. Oddly enough, this did not bother me.

You see, my becoming a bit more politically moderate even jibes with my mood… as of late… here @WordPress. True, upon my arrival in the early days of ‘16, I had planned mostly political posts, which would remain true to my blue roots. Indeed, many of my previous postings do reflect that. But now?

Well, my new focus is to talk about life / what’s happening in our lives. Ergo, most of my new blog topics will have an apolitical, more positive tone… something, which could appeal to virtually everyone.

However… this may not always be the case. After all, one can hardly ignore all that’s happening in our world. By now, it should be clear to all that the present-day political and religious posturing (especially in America) is getting us nowhere. There is a need for all of us to chill out and try to find the path to peaceful co-existence.

Towards that new beginning… we certainly need to find some common ground, common sense solutions to our world’s problems. We need to get a meaningful, productive dialogue going. And what better place for that than WordPress?

Yes, I realize, as a blogger, I’m a virtual unknown. I also fully appreciate how amity involves far more than everyone simply gathering around a campfire to roast marshmallows while singing Kumbaya.

To be sure, I’m far, Far, FAR from being omniscient. I just believe that presenting a short blog with an incomplete, imperfect plan now is far better than waiting for someone far more learned publishing some pièce de résistance, thick volume decades later.

So… does all this mean that I am mellowing with age? I suppose one does tend to feel that way when “The Realization” finally hits. That being?

Well, to cut to the chase, I have far more miles behind than before me on the road of life and that means it’s time to start making peace with myself… peace with the world… and along the way? Well… I might even inspire a few others to do the same?

I think most of us can concur… regardless of what age we may be… life is too short to continue with our world’s present-day, acrimonious, nonproductive status quo.

Let’s start walking that path towards a more positive, inclusive, better tomorrow.

Well… on this new day… that’s about it from my side of the backyard fence. If you, my neighbors, have anything to chat about from your side of the fence… I”m all ears… and the comment box awaits.

All Creatures Large and Small

Admittedly, I had briefly considered titling this posting: “A Cute Cuddly Puppy & Kitty”. But the actual title you’ve just read is a bit more honest… for, on this new day, the “creatures” I’m talking about are none other than our world’s religious sects. These “creatures” can and oft do exert forces upon our society, which are both too large and too small.

Terrorist cells and Theocratic societies draw their energy from too large religious ideology. Blue and white collar crimes can trace their roots to too small religious influences. Either way… humanity loses.

Clearly, the polarizing, extremes of religion are not working towards the betterment of our global society. So might the solution to dealing with our world’s ills be found in a moderate, middle ground faith?

While I’d never be so arrogant as to claim I have all the answers and MOST ASSUREDLY I am NOT on a mission to ram my own religious beliefs down anyone’s throat… here’s what my CommonSenseFaith is all about.

1. I do believe in God and cannot help but base such a conviction upon some of my own life experiences. I’ve shared two of those special moments in my posts: Going Home… Going Home… and A Sliver of Sunlight. I believe, if folks stop to really think about it, some might realize they, too, have had similar “oh wow” moments in their own lives.

2. I fully accept that God may not be a wizened, old man with a long, flowing white beard… that He could even be a She OR… in lieu of that… simply be the elegant and unifying universal laws of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

3. I do not believe in organized religion and haven’t been a regular churchgoer since I was a preteen. That’s because I feel living my religion in my day-to-day life is far more meaningful than living the lie of “Only on Sunday” “morality”. Now, this is not to say that I’ve not had lapses in my own good behavior. But key here is to learn from our transgressions and then self-correct.

4. I also believe that agnostics can be and oft are paragons of virtue 99% of the time. Why not 100%? That’s because nobody is perfect.

5. I feel living the Golden Rule provides us all the structure we need… i.e., the perfect, rock-solid foundation to build a non-violent, loving, flourishing society upon.

6. I may even be like you… you, who feel that want-to-puke-revulsion every time we see fraudulent, parasitic, gold-plated, stain-glassed televangelists “fleecing” their flocks. This breed of “religion” likely ranks right up there with the pumped up on steroids, bulked up, too large sects I spoke of above.

7. While I do insist that each and every one of America’s elected leaders be a humane, humble (wo)man in possession of a moral compass, I also concur with the U.S. Constitution that religious services ONLY belong in our Houses of Worship… that they MUST NEVER be convened in the White House Oval Office, on the U.S. House and Senate floor and, MOST ASSUREDLY NOT with the U.S. Supreme Court bench serving as a rickety, makeshift altar. True… the church government mash-up a.k.a. Theocracy may work out fine in Iran… but that’s not what America is all about.

Since too large and too small religious sects are failing… I believe my seven tiered, CommonSenseFaith philosophy sounds compelling. Hell, this could even work without bringing a Supreme Being into the mix. Might such an moderate approach pave the path towards a better world? Let me know what you think.