The eagles are really active at the lake right now. I enjoy watching them and I am blessed to live and hang out where they do. This past weekend I watched an eagle chasing an osprey. The osprey had a fish he had worked hard for and caught. The eagle, instead of using his energy to catch his own fish, decided to use his energy to take the fish from the osprey. They were flying like crazy in all different directions. Finally, the osprey dropped the fish back into the lake and the eagle dove down and got it. Obviously, the eagle was showing his power and superiority but not his best character. I recalled this sight while listening to Dave Stotts explain why Benjamin Franklin did not want the eagle to be our national bird.
Benjamin Franklin wrote to his daughter, Sarah Bache, in 1784,
“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 labor 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.”
Franklin’s logic was brilliant. The Bald Eagle to him was a royal symbol that took advantage of the less powerful. Franklin did not want to see our government represented this way, as a government that over powers, over taxes, and takes from the people. He envisioned a government that had high moral character in truth, fairness, and equality. Franklin knew his country had just fought a revolution over taxes and freedom. He did not want to see the new power become a power to tax and therefore destroy. However, what Franklin feared has now become reality.
Ben Franklin was right and our government has developed a royal attitude. The proof is in how our government cannot stop taxing and spending on things our forefathers never envisioned us collecting for or wasting money on.
As Americans, we need to pray that our country does not personify the bad characteristics of the eagle. We should pray that our country would have a strong work ethic, run efficiently, and we should work to these ends. At the same time, may we, as individual citizens, not become lazy like the eagle on the days when he steals from the working osprey but instead that we would be like the working osprey so we may enjoy the fruit of our labor. As Psalm 128:2 says, “You shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you.” Hopefully, the government will not take it away from you.