This past year something extraordinary took place, it was a defining moment for members of our generation across the globe. Over the course of the year 19 Arab countries experienced a political movement of varying strengths. It was for once our young generation that took the reigns and lead the charge against oppressive regimes. We finally had a moment that displays this generation’s true potential. The uprisings pulsed through social media sites and used all of this generation’s intelligence as they spread across the globe.
Twitter and facebook which are utilized by our generation to talk about our weekends, show pictures of what parties we were at or update people on useless facts about our life. Most people go throughout their day using these sites and never consider how they could be used for a major benefit. Here is a couple examples of how most people utilize these sites today.
However the youth of these countries were able to use it to mobilize a mass that went on to become a political force. They were able to utilize technology in such a way that they could execute important tactics on a moments notice. This was something that made these protests and statements so profound, the fact that they were able to reach a large base to promote their strength.
However it is in the content of their message that this post focuses.
Now here is where Thomas Paine would well up with pride. The rhetoric has changed, the ideals may have changed, and the medium by which the revolutionary ideas spread has definitely changed however these protests and revolutions come back to his central concept. They, the elites, do not care about us, the oppressed masses. This is a theme prevalent in Common Sense as Paine denounces the crown of England and battles for his freedoms. These revolutions are simply on a smaller scale of what Paine has been saying for centuries. It is the struggle between a ruling elite with a group that is unrepresented and completely oppressed. It may not be England vs. the new American colonies but the battle lines are drawn the exact same way.
Paine’s words still echo in the actions of each and every one of these revolutionaries. “America is only a secondary object in the system of British politics, England consults the good of this country, no farther than it answers her own purpose. Wherefore, her own interest lead her to suppress the growth of ours in every case which doth not promote her advantage.” While the words can be swapped out the concept is the exact same. The leaders of these countries care for the well being of their citizens only when that does not interfere with their own goals. Their own financial well being, much like that of the English crown in the 1700’s, trumps the well being of their citizens every time. They use their constituents as pawns in their schemes rather than treating them with the respect they deserve. In today’s world the concepts of Paine’s common sense still resonate in revolutionaries everywhere. This is an outstanding work that will always remain timeless. While the revolutionaries may not know it they have been fighting against the same oppressive regime as Paine was a couple hundred years before.