It Might Have Been Thomas
Some anti-immigrationists point to what they like to call the early "forefathers" of the United States of America as examples of the kind of people we want to represent -- so different, they tell us, from those who leave their homelands to come here today. Consequently, I found it interesting to read that this week in 1776 marked the publication of Thomas Paine's "Common Sense," a pamphlet that is largely credited with being responsible for selling the idea of breaking away from Great Britain. The vast majority of the colonists at the time, if not totally loyal to the crown, were disinterested in becoming an independent nation. Nevertheless, Paine's arguments were so persuasive that he managed to sell 120,000 copies of his treatis, going from tavern to tavern in town after town to do so.
So who was this Thomas Paine, this "forefather" we should emulate?
He was a working class stiff who, after bankrupting one business, being fired from a subsequent job for lying to his bosses, bankrupting another business and losing another job for being absent without permission, sold all his possessions, such as they were, and left his wife and England. When he arrived in the colonies, nearly dead of typhoid fever contracted on the voyage over, he managed to find and lose yet another job and had been here less than two years when he started traveling around as an unemployed immigrant spreading ideas most people didn't want to hear.
This was the story that popped into my mind yesterday when I walked past a Latino couple in front of my grocery store.
"Hola." I said, before I realized it had come out of mouth.
"Hola." the man replied with no particular expression.
You never can tell. His name might be Tomas. It's only common sense to speak.
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Changeseeker's post reminded me of this the other day.For Christmas my mother gave me this book compiled by Steve Coffman entitled Founders v. Bush: a Comparison in Quotations of the Policies and Politics of the Founding Fathers and George W.... Read More