OpEdNews Op Eds        Published before June 2005

Tom Paine

Author Unknown     Permalink
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
- Advertisement -
Tom Paine 's COMMON SENSE; Copy This Pamphlet to Wake Up America


"The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind "- Thomas Paine

by Jesse Lee and Rob Kall

- Advertisement -



At a time when the Tyrannical King George, with his corporate cronies, were abusing the American Colonists, Thomas Paine introduced a simple pamphlet, "COMMON SENSE, " that broached ideas that swept through the colonies, energizing, inspiring and activating the people. Paine 's COMMON SENSE played a major role in educating and politicizing the people of colonial America so they were ready to fight back and take America from the British.

The newsletter that we at Opednews.com are initiating and inviting you to take part in borrows both its name and purpose from Paine 's seminal work, "Common Sense ".  It is conceived of as the next step in alternative media, the step that will take us across the ideological chasm which this administration has deliberately gutted in our nation 's media landscape, where all the major news organizations have been beaten down, intimidated by fear of loss of access.

- Advertisement -

Like the Phoenix that rises from the ashes, our new COMMON SENSE will rise to educate the 70 percent of the population who still believe that there 's some proof that Saddam or Iraq were connected to 9-11.

The ideals of this newsletter are the same as those espoused in Paine 's work, namely that "The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion ".  But no less important here is his technique of pamphleteering, in order to put hard, accessible knowledge in the hands of the citizenry, who alone have the power to seize back the government for themselves. 

In this vein, Common Sense is offered on the web, via website and email, in a printable, columned newsletter format, meant to be freely photocopied and distributed widely, sowing the seeds of dissent where the Republican elite have attempted to salt the land. 

As valuable as the alternative news community online has been, it is an unavoidable fact that we have hit a wall in terms of "preaching to the choir ".  Those who need the information most are lacking the internet access, savvy, or curiosity and initiative necessary to search out the truth for themselves. This newsletter will put the truth in plain sight, in an easily accessible format, posted on bulletin boards, left out for people to pick up at coffee shops, grocery stores, libraries, convenience stores, and it is up to YOU to get it out there.

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must... undergo the fatigue of supporting it. Thomas Paine


This project was inspired by a reader who felt compelled to reach out to his fellow citizens. He wrote us the following:

'At my own expense, I put out an alternative monthly newspaper in Oshkosh called "A Second Opinion" ... All 75 copies that I put in the public library are gone each month.  I put another 25 copies in a local coffeehouse and in the student union at UWO.  A friend of mine has told me that his friends in a south-side (blue-collar side of town) Lutheran church choir consider "A Second Opinion" to be next to the Bible for information!  He Xeroxes copies for them every month and brings them to choir practice!  People have begun emailing me asking for copies to be sent to them directly as an attachment ...Bush is going to find out that he can only live a lie so long. '

Is there any reason that this should not happen in every community across the country? There are people primed and ready for honest news that has not been "foxed up. " We especially need to get this news into the Midwestern and southern "red " states.

The first edition of Common Sense was sent to a list of approximately 50 individuals across the country.  With each of them printing and distributing 100 copies or more, that is already a circulation of 5000 in those communities which have systematically squashed dissenting facts and opinions.  Imagine if there were a member of the alternative news community distributing 100 copies in every "Bush-country " town across the nation.  Imagine the ripples being sent through every hard working town in America as one reader of the newsletter asks a friend, "Have you heard Bush is trying to eliminate overtime pay? "  

The new COMMON SENSE aims to transform the relationship between alternative news sites and their readers, many of whom we have come to know would like to do more. By enabling each reader, each website publisher to become a pamphleteer, we are empowering them all to have an opportunity to give the un-Foxified truth new light. 

We are well aware that those influenced by Bush will not take our offering if our swords are drawn, and the newsletter is designed to be potent but not strident in tone, so we avoid giving a hostile or uncommitted audience any excuse to dismiss it.  If you are a reader who would like to receive and distribute Common Sense contact us at commonsense@opednews.com and sign up for the distribution list. It will arrive in your inbox as a Word and pdf file and you will simply have to print out or photocopy 100 copies -or 10, or five,  and drop them off at your convenience, or just one post them on a bulletin board. Every action can make a difference.If you operate a site and would like to help distribute or contribute to Common Sense, email us at commonsense@opednews.com or go to www.opednews.com/commonsense111.htm where you'll find archives of the most recent and past issues.

The corporate elitists who have in many ways dominated American politics since its founding have finally overstretched and awakened the sleeping giant of American populism. We cannot let this opportunity pass.  The beginning of this movement will be the unseating of our current profiteers extraordinaire, the end will be an America that practices what it preaches for generations to come.

Some practical tips on "publishing"  and distributing Commonsense:


***As you'll see, this is a two-page document, meant to be front and back of one page. This can actually be trickier than one would think if one does not have a two-sided printer or copier available. We recommend  printing out 100 copies of the first page, and then taking that same stack of paper and printing out 100 copies of the second page on the back. If you haven't done this before, you should experiment with one page first to make sure you're putting the paper in the printer the right way (most printers have a diagram of a folded page to show you how it prints).

***As  mentioned before, recommended distribution locations would be the local library, college campus, health food store, grocery, convenience store, restaurant or cafe, but obviously it's up to your judgment.

***Also, originally  the title of the newsletter was in a different font (diploma) in the Word version, but it was changed back to Times New Roman when we realized not everybody has the same fonts. If you want to play with the font, please feel free.

***Good luck, and don't be discouraged if you get some negative reactions, take it as a sign of how much this really is needed.

Jesse Lee commonsense@opednews.com is editor of the CommonSense newsletter,  a regular columnist for Opednews.com, with original publications at the Smirking Chimp and Yellow Times, as well as republications at the Crisis Papers, the Free Press, and numerous other sites and blogs. He is a founding contributor to the platform of 2020 Democrats, and has worked with the Education for Peace in Iraq Center  (EPIC) in Washington D.C. where he was born and raised.

Rob Kall rob@opednews.com  is publisher of progressive news and opinion website www.opednews.com and organizer of cutting edge meetings that bring together world leaders, such as the Winter Brain Meeting and the StoryCon Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story This article is copyright by Rob Kall, but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media so long as this entire credit paragraph is attached

Other writings of Rob Kall


The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact EditorContact Editor
- Advertisement -
Google Content Matches: