Missing It When It’s Gone

by Mike Pyatt

Mike Pyatt

What is it about the human condition that we miss what we’ve taken for granted, when its gone? A eulogy’s a stark reminder. Common sense too. “Someone said,“Common sense is like deodorant. Those who need it most don’t use it.” That’s one commodity in short supply, nearly bankrupting our nation. Future prospects are dispiriting. Gun free zones in public schools to protect students? How’s that working out? An Unknown Author, wrote a poignant obituary. It’s one that’ll coax one’s lips to utter, “Wish I’d said that.” It’s worth repeating and passing on to others; sooner rather than later.

The Sad Passing of Common Sense

“Today, we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn’t always fair, and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting (adults, not children are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned, but overbearing regulations were set in place.

Reports of a six-year old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teenagers suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they had themselves failed to do in discipling their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer paracetamol, sun lotion or plaster to a pupil, but could not inform parents when a pupil became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses and criminals received better treatment than their victims. It took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from burglar in your home, but the burglar could sue you for assault because you protected yourself and you own.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion, his daughter, Responsibility, and his son, Reason. He’s survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I’m A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized that he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.”

Our Unknown Author marshaled the present state of our moral, social and political realities that leaves one scratching one’s head. In 1776, in our nation’s infancy, a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, Common Sense, advocated independence from Great Britain to those in the Thirteen Colonies. It was written in clear and prosaic language, and avoided nuance. It was a short work, but had an enormous impact on colonial America’s decision to sever its ties with Great Britain. Paine initially published Common Sense anonymously. It sold more than100,000 copies within the first three months, galvanizing support for an armed rebellion and shifted our early nation from the lukewarm column, into the solidly independent one, willing to sacrifice their all.

Several factors promoted Common Sense’s uncommon success. It was easy to read. After 242 years, the language remains incredibly simple. Secondly, it’s a short work. Thirdly, it was accessible to more people, and was often read aloud to the illiterate. Finally, as the title insists, it’s just “common sense.” His arguments resonated with the majority of the those with common sense. Paine appealed to those that were repugnant to most, reminding them that they can no longer be subject to any external power. Reconciliation was a fatuous dream, that every peaceful means and method for peace, had been exhausted and was ineffectual. The “cause for revolution” was the love of freedom and liberty.

Paine strongly appealed to the indispensable duty of government to protect religious liberty. He crafted words that appealed to the soul, and reminded readers of the pernicious effect of selfishness, “Let man throw aside the narrowness of the soul, that selfishness of principle, which niggards of all professions are so unwilling to part with, and he will be at once delivered of his fears on his head.” His style was for the common people, using Biblical quotes which most easily understood. Common Sense, advocated two simple points: independence from England, and the creation of a democratic Republic. Today, we’re the great benefactors of his written pamphlet. He sold nearly a half million copies, and donated all royalties to George Washington’s Continental Army.

One of the most compelling, moral questions, Paine posed was, “If Britain was the ‘true mother’ country, would a mother burden her children, and treat them badly?” Extrapolate that question today with the erosion of the liberty of the unborn. President Trump has acted to reduce many oppressive, onerous regulations. However, one mustn’t relax, or be lulled into lethargy. Our Federal Tax code is overly burdensome, and unconstitutional. States are in hot pursuit to strangle other freedoms. Our struggle for liberty has no surcease. Those inclined to fervent prayer, may supplicate for a large dose of common sense to imbue us.

Common sense reveals absurdity’s mendaciously thin veneer. The best defense against nonsense is common sense. A dose could’ve averted this past week-ends’ clash, when an 18 year old Illinois West Prairie High School valedictorian’s speech was censored by the principal, unless Sam Blackledge removed references to Christ. First Liberty Institute will intervene. Common sense should’ve told the principal he can’t abridge student initiated religious speech. That has already been adjudicated; Santa Fe School District v. Jane Doe, Supreme Court, 2000. There’s a dearth of common sense-it’s not so common after all. Anyone miss it? What do you think?

Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s roderickstj@yahoo.com

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