“There! His Majesty can now read my name without glasses. And he can double the reward on my head!” – John Hancock, after signing his name in large letters on the Declaration of Independence.

I just had one of the most relaxing Fourth of July weekends that I ever could have imagined. For the most part I stayed at home, hardly called a soul and enjoyed watching numerous television shows about the American Revolution.

I have read the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution but there is one document I have never read and that is “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine. This important pamphlet was written during the American Revolution to inspire American colonists to rid themselves of British rule. If one was to compare the amount of copies sold with the population, Common Sense was the best seller of all times.

The television series I watched was “The American Revolution” on the Military Channel. I found it fascinating and full of facts about the revolution I had never heard. It was stated that one-third of the colonists were for the revolution, one-third against and the other third really didn’t care one way or the other. As a matter of fact, after the British surrendered and a peace treaty was signed, many citizens made their way to Nova Scotia, the West Indies and even England.

I won’t write at length about “Common Sense” but I will make the point that it is just as relevant today as it was when it was written in 1776. Thomas Paine made the point that society is a patron and government is a punisher. He stated “that is more than probable that their first laws will have the title only of regulations and be enforced by no other penalty than public disesteem.” He goes on to say that at some point citizens become too busy to be involved with government and therein the problem begins. I immediately was struck by the part where he stated the title of regulations because it brought me back to the time when the Windham town clowncilors were drafting Windham’s Comprehensive Master Plan.

I remember some of the points made during the making of the master plan. Some stated it was not a regulation, it was only a guideline as to what Windham should do for the future. Guess what folks! It’s now being shoved down our throats whether we like it not. There’s a huge chance that this present town council is going to rezone parts of South Windham to meet the demands of developers, not the citizens who purchased properties in the Farm Zone so that they could enjoy living in the country. To me, Thomas Paine was absolutely right when he stated that government in itself becomes evil.

I hope that I have the following information correct. There should be a Windham Planning Board public meeting on the 12th of July and a Windham Town Council public meeting on July 13 about the rezoning requests by those who support developers over private citizens. I, for one, am outraged that it has become so easy for government to change the rules on us while protecting themselves from changes we see necessary. And for those of you who don’t live in South Windham and feel it will never affect you, think again. Your neighborhoods are in just as much danger of changing on you.

I should think that Thomas Paine is going to roll over in his grave. I hope he wakes up George Washington and Thomas Jefferson when he does. Windham’s Comprehensive Master Plan was found invalid by the state of Maine. In a letter from then-council chairperson Bob Muir, the state of Maine was told to go, well, you know where I mean. So, Windham has a Comprehensive Master Plan that is not approved by our state government and yet we must bow to its demands. Windham is ruled by something far worse than King George.

Lane Hiltunen, of Windham, thinks it time that we, the people, rule government.