Commonsense 2010 By Timothy V. Gatto

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By Timothy V. Gatto
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
May 25, 2010

I greatly admire the writing of Thomas Paine. I have always felt that he had covered just about all the bases when one considers what the real “commonsense” truth is in relation to the State and the People. There have been many others that have written the truth before and after Tom Paine, but nobody has put their ideas in such straightforward and succinct terms that almost anyone can understand.

Commonsense and The Age of Reason (which I believe should be required reading for all students) are still, if not more than relevant in these times of turmoil. Now, more than ever, the ridiculous notions of the evangelical Christians and their affiliation with the rabid right, along with the Islamic religion with its Koran and the Jews and the teachings of the Torah, have only managed to fuel the fires of a politically tense world. There are those that use religion to pursue their ethnocentric ideologies to provide a pretext in order to divide people that otherwise would have no animosity towards one another.

It is an unassailable fact that the younger generations of both Europe and the United States are turning their backs on the fairytales told by those that would use religion to justify longstanding hatreds. This is of itself a very good thing. Whether or not one believes in a creator is not the issue. The problems arise when those that claim some kind of advanced understanding of theological issues use that so-called “understanding” to manipulate other human beings into doing their will. Crusades, Jihads, Holy Wars and modern day warfare, all have religion supporting one side or another, if not both sides. The sooner religion is understood to be a force not for good, but a force that manipulates human values and thought in order to subjugate people, the better.

While religion in the West fades into the sunset albeit too slowly for many, it is being replaced by what is commonly known as “The Media”. While some people understand that the media only exists to titillate people while they use the people’s interests to sell products to them, there is a darker, more insidious side to what we see and hear in the western world. The media in Europe and North America has managed to take the place of the dogmas of the old religions.

Most of what people see and hear about almost everything, is brought to them via the media. When I talk about the “media”, I’m not just talking about news outlets; I’m talking about music, TV Shows, billboard ads, motion pictures and even video games.  The media has replaced religion as the opiate of the masses. To illustrate how powerful the media is, one has only to watch how a so-called “modern, educated people” were led to believe that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction that were aimed at the United States after that nation had somehow been complicit in the events of 9/11. This clever ruse was used even though for two decades it was the United States that propped up Saddam’s dictatorship and sided with them against Iran. This in itself illustrates the power of the media. Even after the people of America realized that the basic premise in the invasion of Iraq was a lie, they were cajoled into believing we were now there to install some kind of elusive “democracy” on the Iraqi people.

All one has to do is to watch how the Arab and Middle-Easterners are portrayed in our media to understand the scope of its power. The entire Islamic religion is portrayed as a fanatical sect while people of the Middle-East are shown as a people that have no regard for the sanctity of human life.

There is however, a way that people can sidestep the abuses of the media and the powerful people that control it. While it is impossible to turn away from the media and boycott the garbage that emanates from it, people can shield themselves from harmful propaganda that disguises itself as truth. The only way people can learn the truth is to read.

That is precisely why I brought up Thomas Paine in the beginning of this article. We are not unique. The truth is that those that lived before us were much the same as we are now. They faced the same problems that we face today. The advantage that we have over our predecessors is that we have the wisdom of their best and brightest that has survived the onslaught of time. If only people read more of Paine, Patrick Henry, Jefferson, Robespierre and others of keen intellect, we would see through the falsities of today’s headlines.

Besides reading the works of great political thinkers, there is a more pragmatic and practical way to get the American government back into the hands of the majority. For far too long our American government has been controlled by the rich and powerful. To illustrate this, according to The Center for Responsible Politics, the average Senate race cost 1.5 million dollars. The Connecticut Senate race cost over 26 Million dollars! Who can afford to run for office besides the rich and powerful or the handpicked lackeys of the rich and powerful?   There is a way to eliminate money in political traces, and that is to simply eliminate private money from political races! Congress could easily put a cap on campaign finances and provide public money for political campaigns. That measure in itself would help to eliminate corporate control of the American government.  They won’t do it however, because it would open political races to the average American who wishes to serve in government.

That brings us back to the concept of reading. If we cannot change the way our government is run by electing those that have the fortitude to change the status quo, we can change it. Of course one must read The Declaration of Independence that contains these all-important words:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Since campaign finance reform will not be passed by politicians, against their better interests, it should be voted on in a nationwide referendum. We have the power to call for that referendum. The two major political parties, the Democrats and Republicans won’t do it; they are tethered to their corporate benefactors.  The people must rise up and demand this change so as to take our government back from the rich and powerful.  The time has arrived when Americans must demand that power be given back to the people. This nation is long overdue for true political reform.  Don’t count on our elected officials or the media to undertake this burden, for only the people of this nation will effect this change. As it was in the past it is in the present, we can throw off the chains that enable others to control what is rightfully ours…our government. Read “Complicity to Contempt” and Tim’s new work of fiction “Kimchee Days” at Oliver Arts and Open Press or any online bookseller.


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7 thoughts on “Commonsense 2010 By Timothy V. Gatto

  1. tim , thomas paine ‘s ”commen sense ” is a great work , but keep ”rights of man ”out of the hands of children . as frank zappa said ”to force a child to go to church is to put a loaded gun in his hand ”.
    there is no difference bewteen the utopianism of Paine’s ”rights of man ” and relgiuos texts . one is secular and the other is relgiuos , but both advocate violence , with Jesus , and Buddha as the exceptions .
    You are advocating that Rights of man actually be taught in school without discussing the fact that even Paine himself lost that debate and admitted it to Burke concerning the french revoltion and what followed , the Robespeirre , and the Reign of terror. If you read 2 books written by chris hedges ( one on the relgiuos right , and the other on the imperialist athiests , you will see how Hedges shows that they are interchangable .
    Tomas Paine is amazing , but he was a pro violent backslidden Quaker . the real peaceful honorable Quaker to read is William Penn who kept his treaty to the indians and set and example of that rare quality of personal peity , non violence , and secularity in government .

    • Dear Rocket,

      I always value your opinion. We can agree to disagree on this one, although you have me thinking (which IS a good thing). I don’t advocate violence at this particular point, but Paine was not at the point that we are, he was deep into a revolutionary movement. I don’t espouse revolution, but reform. Tomorrow however is another day. Always glad to hear from you.

      Tim Gatto

      • Tim , thanks . i am big fan of Paine’s ”Commen Sense”. i also like the intro to Rights of man . i just have a problem with Rights of man , becuase of the Paine-Burke debate over it . Burke agreed with the Amercian revolution , but not the French one as you know . i hate to agree with Burke in general , but i think that he won the argument on Rights of man .

  2. Interesting piece Tim.

    Religion today, evangelical christianity IS media, and dangerous as ever. It’s used media to expand its manipulative evangelical aims as has consumerism, since the robertson/raygun era.

    All of this was propagated not for the purpose of ‘saving’ anyone, rather only for the purpose of swindling money and political empire

    If christians do believe, it’s in the second coming, armorgeddon, ie get it all now before it’s gone, build bombs for god. Christians are fundamentalist jihadists.

    Jihadists are simply demonic, zionists are irrational.

    Those few peaceful Christians are the exception, and in light of the unmitigated horror evangelical Christianity has caused, should/must KEEP THEIR RELIGION TO THEMSELVES.

    The age of reason requires that we actually think, not only read. The fundamental flaw of religion is the reading/believing part.

    As soon as the individual makes the decision to believe and not reason, regardless of source, is the moment that individual becomes an ideologue, a follower of fraud.

    • The lesson is don’t follow so called Christians, follow Jesus. It’s the Good News, and should be spread to all (inclusive, not exclusive). True followers should NOT keep this good news to themselves as that would not be following Christ.

      Please remember that not all followers of Jesus are fundamentalists. The Catholic Workers, the Quakers, and others are for peace, not destruction. Same with Jews, not all are Zionists, not all are Orthodox, there are several different branches of Judaism. The Muslims, the same. What’s with all the over generalization of groups of people? Doesn’t sound “tolerant” or open minded, does it? Surely a “progressive” or “liberal” person would be tolerant and open minded to other people. How are you any different than the fundamentalists? Seems like intolerance is wide spread among political beliefs.

      Intelligence has nothing to do with whether one is a follower of Jesus, Natureboy. The list of intelligent Christians is quite long. I think I mentioned some in another comment on this topic.


  3. In the meantime …

    Join the Green Party … No Logo Politics …

    What have you got to lose except the insanity of voting for the duopoly over and over gain expecting different results …

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