Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My Independence Day Tradition... to re-read Common Sense. It's my favorite work by Tom Paine, and Tom Paine has always been my favorite of the "founding fathers" of our nation (even if he wasn't technically one of them, more of an "influence.") His way with words was incredible. I've been re-reading this short work in celebration of the Fourth every year since I was 9 or so. It's a good tradition, and I always catch something new that makes me re-think some things.

If you'd like to join me in this, full text is online at Bartleby, or it's downloadable in e-book form at Project Gutenberg (I don't recommend the online format at the latter, it can be hard on the eyes.)

You can also access his longer works online, if you decide you like his writing and haven't read enough of him.

Reading Common Sense is important to me because it sets out in plain words the importance of good government, the things that we consider basic human rights, and provides thinking points which we can apply to our own country and government as well as the situations of people all over the world-- are we being properly governed? If so, how can we ensure that it continues? If not, what steps should we individually take to change that? Do we have a responsibility to those who are not being properly governed? What is it, and how do we best execute it? (On that note, one of the best websites I know for humbling myself when I think we (as a global people) are doing pretty well is Human Rights Watch; there are still parts of the world where our brothers and sisters are suffering in unspeakable ways because their government does not guarantee their rights or actively suppresses them. Warning: that site contains very specific content about atrocities, although not on the front page. Consider the consequences before allowing children to access it.)

Anyway, have a safe and happy Independence Day, those of my friends who are Americans, and to those who are not, you might enjoy the reading anyway. ;)


Suzanne said...

You're right, it's always good to take time to think about human rights and what they mean to us. I hope you had a great holiday! :)

wendy said...

Awesome recommendation. I have not read common sense, which may be why...