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Lessons from Thomas Paine

"These are the times that try men's souls." It was winter in 1776. After suffering multiple defeats, the colonists were losing hope. Morale was at a low point for General George Washington’s troops. The American experiment was on the verge of collapsing.


In Philadelphia, Thomas Paine, the renowned author of the day, finished penning a piece he hoped would turn the tide and restore the enthusiasm of the American Patriots. He called it The American Crisis. Days later, General Washington would receive the document and ask that the words be read aloud to his soldiers. It begins: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”


On the night of Christmas, days after the reading of Paine’s work, Washington and his troops famously crossed the Delaware River and pulled off the ultimate sneak attack. In what would later come to be known as the Battle of Trenton, the Continental Army would pull off a victory that would prove to be a pivotal point in the American Revolution, thanks in part to Thomas Paine and The American Crisis.

If you turn on the news today, commentators on both extremes of the political spectrum claim we are facing a modern day American crisis. But rather than succumb to sensationalism, levelheaded Americans should take a step back and instead take a different page from Thomas Paine – this time from his most famous work, Common Sense.

Common sense tells us that every single vote cast legally should be counted. And any ballots that were cast illegally should not be.


Common sense tells us that allegations of malpractice and fraud should be investigated. Currently, President Trump’s campaign is in the process of assuring the election has been conducted with integrity. At least 17 lawsuits have been filed in various states by the president’s legal team. I support the legal process of challenging election results if there’s evidence of corruption. Evidence of corruption should be substantiated and verified in a timely manner.


Our Founding Fathers established a system of ‘checks and balances’ in which the courts have the final say in legal challenges such as this. The president is in the process of substantiating his allegations with facts, and the courts must be ready to step in if there are voter fraud allegations that need to be resolved.


Common sense says our elections must be secure and beyond reproach. The president has every right to make certain the integrity of this election has been protected. His supporters want him to make sure this is done correctly, and deserve to know they can be certain of the ultimate outcome of this election.


The America that we know and love is rooted in democracy. We can all agree on that. Now is the time to use a little common sense, be patient and wait for the results of the election to be finalized. Once all final determinations by the courts have been made regarding the lawsuits filed by the president’s legal team, we will have a definitive answer regarding the election process. And as Americans, we must all respect the outcome of that process.