The age of Paine

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again,” wrote Thomas Paine in “Common Sense,” the revolutionary pamphlet published in January 1776. Ronald Reagan quoted those words on July 17, 1980, when he addressed the Republican National Convention and accepted his party’s presidential nomination. Reagan led a coalition of corporate oligarchs, imperial crusaders and Christian fundamentalists to power, and to this day Reaganism remains the official gospel of the old guard in the Republican Party. The republican and social democratic ideals of Paine are long lost to many modern partisan Republicans and Democrats, according to Scott Tucker, writing in Truth Dig, but many memorable phrases of Paine still fill the mouths of career politicians.

When the Iraq war, a broken health care system and a plunging economy gave the Democratic Party a political advantage, Barack Obama raised hopes and promised change. When Obama gave his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 2009, he too quoted Paine, this time from the first of 13 articles collected in “The American Crisis”—an article Gen. Washington ordered read to his troops before crossing the Delaware River on Christmas 1776 to fight the Hessian mercenaries of King George III: “Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it.” Reagan and Obama each lifted some good lines from Paine for their own rhetorical purposes; but each likewise cared more for stagecraft than for the original script.
Read Tucker’s full article in Truth Dig …
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090703_the_age_of_paine/

Thomas_Paine_

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again,” wrote Thomas Paine in “Common Sense,” the revolutionary pamphlet published in January 1776. Ronald Reagan quoted those words on July 17, 1980, when he addressed the Republican National Convention and accepted his party’s presidential nomination. Reagan led a coalition of corporate oligarchs, imperial crusaders and Christian fundamentalists to power, and to this day Reaganism remains the official gospel of the old guard in the Republican Party. The republican and social democratic ideals of Paine are long lost to many modern partisan Republicans and Democrats, according to Scott Tucker, writing in Truth Dig, but many memorable phrases of Paine still fill the mouths of career politicians.

When the Iraq war, a broken health care system and a plunging economy gave the Democratic Party a political advantage, Barack Obama raised hopes and promised change. When Obama gave his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 2009, he too quoted Paine, this time from the first of 13 articles collected in “The American Crisis”—an article Gen. Washington ordered read to his troops before crossing the Delaware River on Christmas 1776 to fight the Hessian mercenaries of King George III: “Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it.” Reagan and Obama each lifted some good lines from Paine for their own rhetorical purposes; but each likewise cared more for stagecraft than for the original script.

In the United States, Paine wrote “Common Sense” and “The American Crisis,” rallying citizens to support independence, and then literally rallying the troops for battle. When Paine went back to England to promote his own design for a bridge, history had a bigger design for him.

Read Tucker’s full article in Truth Dig …

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