“Why do men continue to practise on themselves the absurdities they despise in others?”
-Thomas Paine

Or perhaps “me thinks thou doth protest too much”.

There are many ways to look at the same idea.

Often, what we despise the most in others is what we despise the most in ourselves.

“Serious argument and sound reasoning are preferable to ridicule.”
-Thomas Paine

And if you don’t agree with me, you’re an idiot…

“Could the wolf bleat like the lamb the flock would soon be enticed into ruin.”
-Thomas Paine

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, take a closer look. It might not be a duck.

Wit and diligence are not the sole domain of the wolf.

“More mischief is effected by wrapping up guilt in splendid excuse, than by directly patronizing it.”
-Thomas Paine

The best way to absolve guilt and move on is to simply admit it. “Hey, man; My Bad…”

“A narrow system of politics, like a narrow system of religion, is calculated only to sour the temper, and be at variance with mankind.”
-Thomas Paine, The Crisis

For all that might separate and divide us, politics and religion can be the most insidious when, on their face, they claim inclusion and in reality they sow fear, hatred, and discord.

The superior race and the one true religion.

“Among ridiculous things nothing is more ridiculous than ridiculous rage”
-Thomas Paine

Bluster and swagger, such as the type practiced daily by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, are not the domain of any prescient wisdom or truly moral indignation.

It merely calls attention to itself and, more often than not, shows itself for what it is: a cheap and cynical plea for attention. The value of Rush Limbaugh’s words go up in the same cigar smoke that waft up from his “golden” microphone as he goes on and on in his “ridiculous rage”, all of it diminishing into nothingness.

To give such pointless rage any credence is to give it much more than it deserves.

 

“A Constitution is the property of a Nation, and not those who exercise the Government.”
-Thomas Paine, the Rights of Man

George Bush barely hides his near contempt for the Constitution, apparently seeing it as something of an obstacle to his total grip on power.

Several sources have confirmed his angry retort at a staff meeting in 2005 that certain provisions of the Patriot Act may be unconstitutional:
“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face, it’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

Unfortunately for Bush, the Constitution must continually be thrown in his face – in the face of every president – as often as is required to insure that he remain subject to the fundamental law in a nation governed by laws.

The Constitution is more than a “goddamned piece of paper”; and Mr. Bush does the nation no service to attempt to rise above it.

Perhaps it is even an impeachable offense?

“Those who abuse liberty when they possess it would abuse power could they obtain it”
-Thomas Paine

The genius of the Constitution is in the assurance of liberty for the many and balance of power away from the one, or the few. In theory at least.

How does that theory hold up in 2007?

“Wise men are astonished at foolish things, and other people at wise ones”
-Thomas Paine

And it is to the higher expectations of the wise that the rest of us should always aspire.

“Though the cause of America is the most honorable that man ever engaged in, I am not so dazzled by it as not to perceive the faults that are twisting themselves round it, and unnaturally claiming kindred with it.”
-
Thomas Paine

In a troubled time such as we live, it is too easy to be dazzled by symbolism and paralyzed by fear, slowly letting in the choking weeds of oppression, suspicion, and aggression in the name of liberty and freedom, strangling the very thing for which we claim to hold dear and unique to our purpose.

Lies and obfuscation in the highest echelons of government can rarely, if ever, truly align itself with the true cause and idea of America.