Why Americans Love the Bald Eagle: The crows, buzzards, and ducks of our government

I have always had a conflict when watching air shows at the concept of formation flying.  Of course this idea of formation flying comes from watching birds like geese flying in a triangular pattern.  Mankind wishing to fly adopted this tendency, so when airplanes were invented, we executed the practice in reality.  The trouble is flying; or rather the romance of it is a solitary endeavor.  It’s an achievement of mankind’s success to be able to take to the skies and reach for the heavens under the power of a machine invented in the mind of man. 


But as any game hunter will tell you who are hunting ducks, or geese, they love the tendency of those collective oriented birds to fly in formation because it makes them easier to shoot down.  When I look at a duck, or a goose, I do not think of independence or the freedom of flight.  I just see a stupid creature that travels in packs blindly following a leader and I despise such creatures.  When I look up into the sky and see a flock of birds flying about I do not have envy of any kind for them, even though they have the added dimension of flight in their physical abilities.  I see them as unintelligent, just as I do when I see human beings behaving in flocks on the ground. 

This is why America adopted the American Bald Eagle on June 20th 1782 as its national symbol.  The bald eagle was a large creature that had a solitary nature and once they found a mate they stayed together until one died.  Eagles are strong, they can fly up to10,000 feet and are at the top of the food chain regarding the bird species.  They resembled the idea of what an American is.  Because of these traits they were adopted as a national symbol for America.

Eagles are not collectivists.  They don’t even migrate with their young, and often not even with their mates.  Eagles tend not to nest near other eagles unlike buzzards and other collective oriented raptors.  Eagles spend most of their time alone and like it that way.  It would simply be an insult to come to a tree full of eagles hanging around socializing and waiting for something to eat.  Such a thing just does not happen in nature.   If such a thing were to be seen it would cheapen eagles dramatically. 

The reason we do not respect crows, buzzards, geese, ducks and dozens of other bird species is because we innately see them as a weaker class due to their tendency toward collectivism.  If an eagle were to be shot by a hunter with the same gun that had just killed a buzzard even though both raptors are large and majestic, we would feel a profound sadness for killing the eagle, and probably nothing much for killing the buzzard.

Human beings see such creatures as buzzards and crows as predatory scavengers who wait for something to die so that they can swoop down and eat a carcass.  They are nature’s welfare recipients.  They are collectivists and we tend to look down our noses at them.

But the blad eagle is a creature that hunts their prey and kills it cleanly—with work and superior speed.  We admire the eagle because they are the best at what they do, and they don’t look for help in doing it.  It is for reasons like this that we admire the bald eagle as representatives of American citizens.  Bald eagles are what Americans know they should strive to become, individual predators for their own welfare.   

This is why I think it is disgraceful to see a flock of American warplanes flying in formation.  When I met the Thunderbird pilots a few years ago at an air show, I did not look at them with awe.  I admired their piloting abilities, but as I shook their hands, I realized that they were simply collectivists who followed orders from their military superior.  They flew in formation like geese and did what they were told.  Because of that, I had less respect for them. 

It is for these reasons that the old Tom Cruise movie Top Gun is still revered as a classic American film.  There’s a bit of Maverick in all of us—the kind of person who wishes to go it alone and march to the beat of their own drummer, to thumb their nose at authority and give them the finger while doing it.  Americans were never intended to fly in formation.  They were not intended to cooperate with the crows, the buzzards and the geese of the world.  Can anyone imagine an eagle sharing its food with a group of buzzards?  How about an eagle sharing its kill with a flock of crows?  What about an eagle plucking off little bits of flesh from a slain fish to feed to a flock of ducks swimming around helplessly on the surface of a lake?  Such thoughts are absurd.  Yet our modern government of ducks, buzzards, and crows proclaim that all the American Eagles of society should do just that. 

In nature, which the tree hugging parasitic hippies seem to worship, the bald eagle would eat the ducks if they got in its way.  They’d slaughter a whole tree of buzzards because the buzzards are individually cowards who do not know how to fight.  And a whole flock of geese could be slain by one eagle should the eagle desire to do so.  This is why Americans are the eagles of the world and why they tend not to be politicians.   Buzzards and crows become politicians, and they have tried to bend nature with rules of their own requiring eagles to hunt for them as they sit in the tree and wait for a dead carcass to be delivered to their feet in the form of taxes. 

No matter how politicians attempt to frame the issue, or Hollywood tries to glorify collectivism, Americans do not like collectivists.  Their favorite movie stars are individuals.  Their favorite movies promote individualism.  And their military heroes are solitary, not collective.  At air shows it is not the acrobatic collectivism that amazes audiences, but the one Marverick in those planes that would break out of formation and shoot down 5 of the enemy all by themselves.  The thought of such a thing are what puts smiles on the faces of the young and old alike.  The reason for it is the same as why America selected the bald eagle as its national symbol.  It is also why progressives would like to change the national symbol from an eagle to a flock of ducks. 

Enjoy your Fourth of July, and honor the eagle with a special respect as you fire off your fireworks defying the law—which has proclaimed them illegal in most states.  The Fourth of July is about honoring the eagle in each of us, and that is not to be taken lightly. 


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Rich Hoffman