Ben Franklin Still Profound in 2012

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man.” — Benjamin Franklin
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Ben Franklin Preferred the Turkey as our National Symbol

Ben Franklin once wrote of his disappointment over the decision to choose the bald eagle as the symbol for our country.

Franklin preferred the turkey actually.

However from this small excerpt his description of the bald eagle may actually describe how our the country could be perceived today. On Wall Street? Our Tax system?

“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.”

These days I feel a lot like a Fishing Hawk!

Ben Franklin Preferred the Turkey as our National Symbol

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With the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner I have been thinking about turkey…of course lately I think about turkey more often as it is now available all year, everywhere…even on the menu at Cheeseburger in Paradise!

I wonder if the turkey had been chosen as the symbol of our country as Ben Franklin originally proposed would we still be eating them as the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving day feast?

Here is an excerpt of Franklin’s Letter to His Daughter regarding America’s choice of the eagle as its symbol.

“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

“With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country . . .

“I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”

“Because of their size, bald eagles are not concerned about threats from other birds. However, eagles are often chased by smaller birds, who are trying to protect their young. . . ”

It was Benjamin Franklin’s observations of a bald eagle either ignoring or retreating from such mobbing that probably led to his claim of the bald eagle’s lack of courage.
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