My wife and I were in the mountains a couple weekends ago. On Saturday, we drove to Sylvan Lake State Park, just south of I-70 at the Eagle exit and one of the crown jewels of our state park system. The trail around the lake is an easy walk and I enjoyed asking the many fisher folk along the banks and in their canoes “How many have you caught?” The usual answer was “None”, despite the lake being generously stocked with trout.
As we neared the end of our circuit, I asked a Dad who was patiently helping his little kids with their fishing tackle, how many they had. “None,” he replied, “but I have three little kids.” Enough said.
I moved on to talk with the mother who was helping another of the children.
But just as I began, something caught my eye. Not more than a 100 yards away, two Bald Eagles were slowly descending to the surface of the lake. Almost before I could blurt out, “Hey, there are some Bald Eagles!”, one of them had landed on the lake for the briefest moment and then taken off again. As they did so, they turned 180 degrees and flew right over us, low and clear. Just visible behind the bird’s magnificent white head, was a fish, still struggling to get free.
I guess not all of Sylvan Lake’s anglers got skunked that day.
What more can one add to what has already been said about the Bald Eagles as our nation’s emblem, a symbol of hope and pride? Probably not much. Except, perhaps, to take issue with what Benjamin Franklin said when told that the Bald Eagle was going to be on the nation’s Great Seal. He disapproved because the great bird, allegedly, “does not get his living honestly” and steals his food from other birds that do.
I hesitate to argue with the “sage of America“. But Ben Franklin didn’t see what I saw the other day at Sylvan Lake.
And, in fact, the more pertinent issue may be just the reverse: has America so lost her way that she is no longer worthy of her grand national emblem? Consider:
- Ignoring George Washington’s warning in his Farewell Address, we are bogged down in endless, costly and bloody foreign wars. That have earned us the enmity of much of the world-without adding materially to our national security.
- Despite spending more on defense than the combined expenditures of the next seven countries, we haven’t won a war since WWII.
- We have done a great job of enriching the Military Industrial Complex that President Eisenhower cautioned us against. And, in the process, done a no less admirable job of causing the national debt to explode.
- According to a listing of the US State Department, we have promised to go to war to defend more than 54 countries in remote corners of the globe: Iraq, the Ukraine, South Korea, Yemen, Israel, Japan, etcetera, ad nauseum, and ad infinitum.
- Which nations, in most cases, are perfectly content to play the part of defense Welfare Queens to America’s defense Sugar Daddy. And, unsurprisingly, when the chips are down, seem just as likely to cut and run as defend their own countries.
And, to make matters worse, when it comes to our own national interests and borders, we act like there’s a Sugar Daddy out there who will bail us out. There isn’t. Instead, paralyzed by the fear of offending the political correctness and diversity gods, we don’t have the nerve to defend our own southern border from a relentless invasion. Which, as Ann Coulter unflinchingly points out in her book, Adios, America!, will turn our country into a “Third World Hellhole” unless halted.
In the world of “legal eagles,” a common compensation system is know as “Eat What You Kill.” In other words, each partner keeps the revenue he is responsible for generating, after subtracting shared expenses. While I don’t claim to be an ornithologist, from what I saw of our national emblem the other day, Benjamin Franklin was wrong. The Bald Eagles I saw were engaged in a form of “Eat What You Kill.” They swooped down and snatched their own meal from Sylvan Lake.
But the fact that they were stealthy, skillful and aggressive, doesn’t mean that they were meddling in what didn’t concern them. And picking fights, spilling American blood and treasure, to satisfy ancient and outmoded treaty obligations. The Bald Eagles I saw were tending to their own knitting, protecting what was rightfully theirs. Not picking fights where they were neither wanted or needed.
America could take a lesson from its national emblem.