Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Of Eagles and Turkeys

Many countries have chosen the majestic eagle as their national symbol. Stylized eagles appear on national flags, great seals, military unit patches, and recruiting posters. The mighty eagle, soaring high above his domain and swooping down mercilessly on his enemies, is an obvious choice for a symbol of national power.

Or is it?

It was on this day in 1784 that Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter in which he admitted he was not pleased about the choice of the bald eagle as the symbol of America. He wished it had not been chosen as a symbol of our country because it was "a bird of bad moral character." Franklin wrote about the eagle: "Like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy."

Mr Franklin believed there was a different bird that should have been chosen as the national symbol of his new nation: the wild turkey.
"The turkey," Ben wrote to his daughter, "is a much more respectable bird, and ... a true original native of America."

History may well have proven Mr Franklin right. The mighty American eagle doesn't soar quite as high as it used to, and Congress is long on squawking turkeys and short on mighty eagles. When I think about those who would murder us in the name of twisted religious beliefs, seize our merchant vessels off the coast of Somalia, and ship tons of drugs into our cities, I rather miss this fellow ...

Because there are some times when being a turkey just won't do.

Have a good day. Honor the turkey at Thanksgiving, and the eagle on the other 364 days.

More thoughts tomorrow.



Raquel's World said...

That eagle looks like a villain. Don't like it. The Turkey sounds like "you are a jive turkey" (anyone remember that?)So, I care not for that either.
How about a pretty lil peacock? The many colors could symbolize the many cultures, races etc. And we do not eat those. We don't, right?

Bilbo said...

Not a bad idea, RW ... true, we don't eat peacocks (that I know of). However, peacocks do tend to show off their gigantic tails and scream loudly when provoked, which might make them a better choice for a new symbol for the GOP. Just a thought.

KathyA said...

And the eagle, our national symbol, is a carrion bird!
I wonder how they taste with cranberry?

Jean-Luc Picard said...

The turkey doesn't have good PR.