I’m not cheap.

There are things worth spending money on like good socks, rare books, really great cotton sheets, a reliable timepiece, and stellar coffee. Then there are things I can’t part with much money for…like "new" everything for the kids.
We have four. Four is expensive and we’re always out of something. So I’m selective (frugal) when it comes to certain necessities. I purchase quality jeans, shoes, and glasses (for our sight slighted little ones). These things are definitely worth the extra money. Others are not…I never ever buy new bikes, sports equipment, board games, music or movies for them. Why? Because every Taylor Swift album is already at the Goodwill.
Over the weekend I scored what may be the best dvd purchase ever…fourteen hours of American history lessons geared to a seven year old (the exact median age of our brood). I snapped it up with three other educational DVDs in a bag marked $2. Which means the complete set of Liberty’s Kids, 40 episodes in all, only cost me two quarters.
Liberty’s Kids introduced my children to Thomas Paine last night. They watched an animated General George Washington read Paine’s Common Sense pamphlet aloud to his troops who could not read.
The DVDs (although presented with a progressive slant) offered teaching moments with my children as we watched it together…inroads into other pertinent discussions like how even now in much of the world, free speech and democracy are privileges held by very few.
I defined the term "tyranny" and explained that people can be moved to support governments detrimental to individual freedoms and that truth can be molested by corrupt leaders. As a modern example, I offered the kids the ‘lite" version of this exchange with a dear Egyptian friend.
"How is it that after all the fight to get rid of Mubarak that Egyptians elected the Muslim Brotherhood, a bunch of terrorists, into power?" I asked, puzzled.
"They convinced the poor people that it was Allah’s will for the Brotherhood to be in power" she replied, "So, essentially, if they don’t vote for the Brotherhood then they are voting against Allah’s will…the people in the small towns in the country believed them. I believed them. They had us all fooled. I hate the Muslim Brotherhood."
My friend was hoodwinked–A doctor who grew up in Georgia, spent her weekends at the country club, wears red bikinis and drinks beer, yet is still a practicing Muslim. She regrettably voted for Morsi, a pawn of fanatic Islamists sworn to convert and/or kill infidels.
I adore her and she is as well integrated into U.S. culture as a practicing Muslim can be…but a modern female voting in favor of religious rule in Egypt well illustrates the unforgiving fight defenders of western freedoms are up against.
Thomas Paine’s latter work, Age of Reason, addresses this topic exhaustively. Paine was obtusely anti-religion. And although Paine’s assessment of Christianity is at best amusing, he was a wordsmith with laudable vision. In Age of Reason his apparition regarding a future should religions again rule continents was not off by much.
Common Sense became a battle cry for the American Revolution and his quote "These are the times which try men’s souls" is just as pertinent today as it was two-hundred forty years ago. Only now, freedom from oppression is no longer the desired outcome. Placating the enemy is.
And words penned by even the most passionate patriot can’t move a citizen apathetic to his own freedom.
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