Someone sent me a little missive out of London mourning the death of Common Sense.
It was sad to hear, as citizens and government leaders today debate issues whose solutions would be obvious if Common Sense still had a pulse. It didn't say exactly when Common Sense kicked the bucket, or get into much detail on the cause of death. I'm guessing he died from loneliness and that his death was excruciatingly painful. We all need social interaction to help feed our spirit and nobody seemed to be paying much attention to Common Sense.
We need look no further than Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to see evidence of neglect and abuse of Common Sense.
In his absence, our government leaders have felt compelled to pass laws that would otherwise be obvious if Common Sense were still around. He would know without being told, for example, that you shouldn't stand on an oven door to reach for a box of cereal, or that it would be a great idea to wear a helmet if you drive a motorcycle 100 miles an hour in a forest.
I'm guessing he'd also suggest that you shouldn't text the passenger in the back seat while driving on the Coastal Highway, or across the Bay Bridge in fog. And he'd remind us that before the invention of soy milk there were actually cows, with udders that squirted milk if you gave them a proper tug. Many people — called farmers, according to history books — actually drank that milk and grew strong enough to change a wagon wheel with their bare hands.
He'd also have probably reminded us that a home we built for $300,000 in 2001 could not possibly have been worth $700,000 four years later, or that we shouldn't sign paperwork without reading it, no matter what size the print is.
There's a great chance he would have whispered in the president's ear that there is a thousand years of history that tells us you can't win a war in Iraq, or Afghanistan, and that you should never spend more money than you make. Common Sense would have shaken his head at the notion of giving an Afghan tribal chief a bag of cash while closing schools and senior citizen centers back home.
And he might have even ended the immigration debate by simply saying, “You can come here, but not on our dime. We really need to take care of our own citizens first and we don't have enough money to even do that very well. So when you sneak into our country, bring some cash with you to cover your own education and medical bills. Or ... file the proper paperwork and come in the front door. The sign on that door, by the way, is in English.”
He might also be wondering how, with 14 million people collecting unemployment benefits in this country, there can still be jobs “no American wants.” If there are still jobs no American wants, perhaps we should reconsider our unemployment benefit policies. I know ... the horror of it. “You want me to pick what?”
And if the Chinese can make a solar panel for $10 while it costs $1,000 to make a similar solar panel in California, Common Sense would have raised a red flag on any proposal to loan the California solar company $500 million of taxpayer money. Then — since the executives of that failed solar company won't tell us what happened to the $500 million government “loan” — Common Sense would find out why it costs $1,000 to make a solar panel in California in the first place and how we are supposed to compete with the Chinese for any manufacturing jobs.
If Common Sense wasn't dead by then, I'm sure that decision finally put him out of his misery. It likewise would have driven him over the edge to stand by while a Chinese sculptor was contracted to build a monument to the late Martin Luther King, Jr. Common Sense might have wondered why they couldn't find a black sculptor to chisel a monument to that Civil Rights hero, or why anyone would have a monument like that built in a country that has no respect for basic human rights, even if they did save $8 million (they argued that's how much less it cost to build the monument in China and have it shipped here). Common Sense would have wondered about the process that went into that decision.
. . .
It would be obvious to Common Sense that the best way for us to get out of this recession is to keep government as far away from Main Street as possible. Common Sense knew that government was never qualified, nor designed to create jobs. Most politicians know nothing about jobs because they've never actually had one. And ... no ... spending taxpayer money is not a job, it's a hobby for some and an addiction for others.
“Government,” Common Sense would always say, “never injected a single penny into the economy that it didn't first take out of the economy.” There are many in government today who think money comes from the Tooth Fairy.
According to his obituary, Common Sense was survived by several step-brothers: I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim.
There was no mention of an actual Big Brother, but I'm pretty sure Common Sense left one of those behind as well.