Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Favorite Muppet

Kermit the Frog: We will also see a rousing finale from Sam the Eagle. What's it called, Sam?
Sam the Eagle: It's called "A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America".

I've always felt an affinity towards solid Sam the American Eagle. What is it about him? He's built of simple stuff. He's not dim, mind you; rather his beliefs are founded in fundamentals instead of confused by complex obfuscations. He's full of faith in and love for his country. He knows this is the greatest approach to mankind governing itself that will ever be*.

He is trusting. He has come to reasoned conclusions and now sticks by them. Sam is genuine.

Sam is moral and ethical:
Sam the American Eagle: I would just like to say a few words about nudity in the world today. And I, for one, am just appalled by it. Why, did you know that underneath their clothing, the entire population of the world is walking around completely naked? Hmm? Is that disgusting? And it's not just people, although, goodness knows, that's bad enough, but animals too. Even cute little doggies and pussycats can't be trusted. Underneath their fur, absolutely naked! And it's not just the quadripeds, neither. Birds too. Yeah! Beneath those fine feathers, birds wear nothing. Nothing at all! Abs... [realizes and walks off, covering himself]

Sam loves wholesome entertainment (you know, Wayne and Wanda!):
Sam the American Eagle: Mr. Cooper.
Alice Cooper: [turns abruptly to face him, wearing much goth make-up] Yes?
Sam the American Eagle: Oh, good grief! Let me come right to the point. You, sir, are a demented, sick, degenerate, barbaric, naughty freako!
Alice Cooper: [smiling] Why, thank you!
Sam the American Eagle: Freakos: One. Civilization: Zero.

Sam enjoys classical entertainment, even if he's not so well versed in it:
Sam the American Eagle: Ah, Beethoven. Finally! Well, for Beethoven I will stay. He's my favorite playwright.

Sam has a sense of humor. Sam is hurt when that which is sacred is torn down.

Sam is genuinely, innocently, and rightly shocked that anyone could come to different conclusions about America. For Sam; yeah for all of us: America is wonderful, America is liberty, America is opportunity, America is the melting pot. How could this not be so? How could this be bad? How can success and opportunity exclude? How could anyone surrender liberty for a life of convenience when so many have surrendered their lives for liberty?

Sam pledges allegiance to the flag, with its liberty and justice for all.

Sam is an American Eagle.

And yet, despite all these wonderful qualities, Sam is a punchline. He is jeered and ridiculed in his face and scoffed at behind his back.

Why? Because he is trusting? Because he is simple? Because he stands for what is just and scorns what we all know to be wrong? Do we not have nursery rhymes to teach us these truths? Bible stories? Parents? Priests?

Or is it all in the hands of the schools where they're taught social studies and environmentalism and keyboarding, but not penmanship or math, history or liberty. Skills but not knowledge. They do know that they need to save Sam the American Eagle, not because of who he is, but because he is a member of an endangered species, a minority. How sad. How true.

And so I love Sam the American Eagle. I love what he stands up for. I will teach my children to be Sam the Eagles. I will be Sam's friend, and I would be proud to have him be mine.

* And, being an experienced idealist, I will add that this great experiment, the American Idea and implementation of Liberty, will not be tried again in the future history of mankind. Can you conceive of another revolution for individual Liberty in a world now so connected and organized and, well, regulated as ours? If we continue this path of surrendering individual liberties for a mere change from inconveniences, or sharing the wealth, for the dubious goal of fairness, this American experiment will come to an end, not learned from, and not to be renewed again. to Paraphrase Screwtape, "Oh, we've all been through that phase."

Imagine explaining to your children or grandchildren the liberties we used to have, in our lifetimes, that they now receive from the government in exchange for their fair share. Does this sound far fetched? I'm forty one. In my grandfather's time, there was no national income tax. There was no social security. No federal standards for state-issued identity cards. There was no FDIC. There weren't seat-belts, anti-lock brakes, or airbags.

In my time, I've seen health insurance change from something an individual was responsible for to a required benefit from employers; I've seen beer go from something that an 18 year old with enough facial hair could buy to having to submit, for approval by the 16 year old zit-faced authoritarian-child-pawn-of-the-state-and-the-unions-point-of-sales-operator-junior-class-initial-pay-grade-bureaucrat behind the register, the aforementioned state-issued identification card as proof of my (advancing) age, so that I can buy a drink and drown my sorrows. That pisses me off.

Hell, a decade ago there was no Sarbanes Oxley. Last year, I wasn't an owner of General Motors or Chrysler, though I do own one of their products, which has served me well and with value. Next year, my income will surely continue to fund everyone else's health coverage (I mean beyond what it's already funding in medicaid and other forms of already available health coverage for those who can't or don't want to get it by themselves) while the AARP membership will now be able to afford a monthly payment on a new Cadillac (whew! thank goodness, because that whole recession thing was awful last year, hope it doesn't happen again in four years during the next election), which they bought because my tax dollars supported their cash for clunkers discount. In the future, my tax free Roth IRAs won't be, and Social Security? I've never considered it to be part of retirement planning. It's just stealing from me throughout my working career. It is aptly named a tax on my paystub.

But I digress. My point was that America (and Americans) once protected rather than consumed liberty. If liberty dissapears from America on its slippery slope , then who else is free or oppressed enough to try it? Who? Who? When? Where? Tie a rope and hang on, Americans. Get a friend on that rope and start pulling. Tug-o-war, Americans. Tug-o-war. Get an anchor and start moving our flag back.

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