VHeadline.com commentarist Kenneth T. Tellis writes: While thinking about the reasons why a man from the past was reviled for his actions against slavery by his writings, one has only to look no further than Thomas Paine.
He drafted part of the original papers that led up to the declaration of independence in which he openly denounced slavery. But since most of those so-called American patriots were rich landowners and business people who owned slaves they revoked all that Paine had written against slavery and treated him like a leper, later calling him an atheist. After that Paine had no part in writing on the freedoms that he was so much for and did not limit it to the white populace alone in the newly founded nation of the USA.
But it is very striking that what Thomas Paine wrote in his book the ‘Rights of Man,’ part 2, 2792 have a bearing in what is happening in this day and age. “When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy, neither distress nor ignorance can be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive … when these things can be said, then may that country boast of its constitution.”
One has only to look at the very life of Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela and the epic journey that he undertook before reaching his present office of President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, to fully understand why he has made life better for the forgotten millions of Venezuelans.
Those who oppose Chavez’ changes to education, housing, health, food and the constitution that make life better for the majority are the same as the rich landowners and business people who did not want any changes to the status quo in America during the time of Thomas Paine.
Thomas Paine was the torch-bearer of freedom and justice in America in his time, just as Chavez is at present in Venezuela.
So today the past has come to visit the world, and no one seems to think of it as deja vu.
Kenneth T. Tellis