In just a couple days I'd like everyone to join me in spirit for a celebration for the real father of our country.
What's that, you say? George W. is the father of our country? Heh. Yeah. Let me clue you in. General Washington was one of the least successful generals in all of history. His raid on Trenton, for the ethics of the time, was cowardly and sacreligious. He repeatedly got his ass handed to him on a platter by the British generals, which is to be expected because he originally applied to be a general for England and they turned him down.
Upon his successful victory over Cornwallis, the congress of the new United States offered him the position of the presidency, which Washington had a problem with. He didn't want to be president, he wanted to be king. Eventually, they lured him in with a fat salary and promise of ongoing supreme command of the Armed Forces.
After his term as president, during which he really didn't do much, he retired to continue his hobbies of being a tightwad landlord, slave plantation owner, and the maker of really bad beer. He did make one contribution during this time to the country, however. He pushed congress to foot the bill for a new highway system. But don't think he was doing it because he was looking out for the future of trade or anything like that. He had discovered that the vast spreads of land he owned had squatters living there, and figured that if highways were in place he could finally start collecting rent from our first pioneers.
No, the real father of our country, as far as I'm concerned, is Benjamin Franklin; a rowdy old coot who has more to do with the spirit of this country than most people know. Yeah, he invented things and did the thing with the kite, but there's a lot more to him than that.
His writings about freedom and the defense of it border on the prophetic. If our current George W. had ever studied Poor Richard's Almanac I am sure we wouldn't be in the mess we are today.
He was a believer in true free enterprise, and supported programs that would establish the same chances for everyone getting a fair shake. He was a firm believer in abolition a century before our country did anything about it.
He believed in the spreading of literature and making it possible for everyone to share in it freely. He also aided in founding Franklin and Marshall College. He also bequeathed money to the city of Philadelphia in a 200 year trust, which, when it came due, netted the city about $5,000,000 that it used for scholarships.
Good old Ben had a real way with the ladies. While it's true he never married it is commonly held he sired well over a hundred children. He was a successful spy, procuring secret documents with a flair that would have made James Bond Jealous.
While George Washington seemed intent on bilking the government out of every penny he could pinch, Franklin supplied most of his own funds. His diplomatic missions to France, which were crucial to our independence, he paid for out of his own pocket and was never reimbursed by our government.
Despite the fact that he's often portrayed as a fat, bespectacled bald guy he had a strong physical regimen for health that seemed to work: He lived to the ripe old age of 84, which was incredible for the time.
He founded the infamous Hellfire Club, a society who's members believed that the acquisition of earthly pleasures did not itself represent a sin, yet he was also a devout quaker, one of the most progressive religions ever, even compared to modern religions.
To sum it all up, when congress was voting to make the bald eagle our national bird, Franklin had another suggestion: The turkey. Yeah, laugh if you want to, but I don't think Ben should have been shot down for that one. The bald eagle is a solitary, standoffish creature that gets the main intake of it's nutrition from eating carrion. Eagles may look majestic, but they are exceptionally prone to disease. Ironically, the people who did actually find a use for eagles, the Native Americans, were already being run off their land by the infringing Europeans. On the other hand, turkeys are social animals. They are fairly intelligent for birds, and they have obviously thrived better than eagles. Furthermore, think of how the earliest settlers would have failed in their trek were it not for those tasty birds.
On January 17th, our dearest Ben's birthday comes around. Join me in humble respect for a not-too-humble man. Raise a glass of beer, and if anyone makes a stink about Washington being our patriarch, throw a walnut at' em.