Where did common sense go?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 20, 2003

Don't you miss Common Sense?

I am reminded of its absence every day.

For instance, there's the furor over the words "In God We Trust" on our money and having the word "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

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Pollsters say 86 percent of Americans believe in God.

Excuse me for sounding like Andy Rooney, but why don't we tell the other 14 percent to sit down, shut up and get out?

I was never sure Common Sense was used a lot, during the Vietnam War.

Veterans have been reading about the legacy of that war in their monthly magazine.

Liars figure, but figures don't lie about the Vietnam War:

-- 9.7 percent of their generation served on active duty during the Vietnam era.

-- 58,229 deaths occurred: 17,539 married men died, 61 percent of the men killed were under 21 years of age.

-- 303,704 were wounded, 75,000 were severely disabled, including 23,214 who are 100 percent disabled. Another 5,282 lost limbs and 1,081 had multiple amputations.

-- 2.6 million Americans served during the war. Between 1 and 1.6 million either fought in combat, provided close combat support or were at least fairly regularly exposed to enemy attack. Fifteen percent were in combat units and the rest were "REMF" and you all know what that means.

-- 19 was the average age of the Vietnam War GI.

-- 82 percent of the veterans who saw heavy combat duty believe the war was lost due to a lack of political will. Nearly 76 percent of the general public agrees.

One wonders what a little common sense would have done for our nation's politicians and military leaders, during the Vietnam era?

Too bad, it's dead.

According to an obituary by an unknown author, Common Sense died some time ago.

For decades, petty rules, silly laws and frivolous lawsuits held no power over Common Sense.

Common Sense was credited with cultivating such valued lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm and that life isn't always fair.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial pulsates (Don't spend more than you earn), reliable parenting strategies (Adults are in charge; not kids) and the universal "It's okay to come in second."

A veteran of the Industrial Revolution, Great Depression and Technological Revolution, Common Sense survived cultural and educational trends, including body piercing, whole language and new math.

They say Common Sense lost the will to live when the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses, criminals received better treatment than victims and federal judges stuck their noses in everything from the Boy Scouts,

professional sports and other places they didn't belong.

Common Sense finally threw in the towel, when an elderly woman too stupid to realize

that a steaming cup of coffee was hot was awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion, his daughter, Responsibility, and his son, Reason.

Sometimes, nonsense doesn't cut it and you have to deal with Common Sense.

That business about shrink-wrapping your home for the sake of homeland security is another example of the decline and fall of Common Sense.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at :mailto:lee.bonorden@austindailyherald.com