True Stuff that I Made Up

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Remembering Tom

Recently, I've been prompted to revisit the polemical writings of Thomas Paine.
This one time Quaker and eventual Deist was our country's first advocate of personal liberty and freedom of choice.
He was a true Son of Liberty, who refused to profit even a penny from any of his pamphlets.
However, in his later years, he was the sad victim of gross and inexcusable American ingratitude.
Finally, President Thomas Jefferson, one of his few remaining friends, sent a ship to France in 1802, to bring Paine back to his beloved and adopted country, where he died in obscurity in 1809.
After his death, most American leaders continued to disdain him.
Even the great President Theodore Roosevelt never read Paine's writings, but ignorantly referred to him as "a filthy little atheist".
Truly, this American patriot spoke out bravely on behalf of George Washington's beleaguered and defeated troops, as well as to all of us across the ages, when he observed that "these are the times that try men's souls".

Postscript: The "No Guarantees" entry at this blog addresses a related issue regarding our current personal responsibilities.


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