What If Johnny Appleseed Turned Out to Be Johnny Rotten-Appleseed?

I can still recall the legend of Johnny Appleseed and the picture of him as he was portrayed in my youth. I see a lanky, barefoot man on a prairie trail hiking across America's heartland, carrying a satchel of apple seeds and generously scattering them as he walks on his way. While he travels, I can see this kind and generous man meeting adults and children and telling them to open up their hands. Then I have my image of Johnny Appleseed placing a few seeds in each palm and promising these folks that if they plant the seeds, they will one day have beautiful apple trees to admire and delicious apples to enjoy.

There really was a Johnny Appleseed. John Chapman was his name, and he really did establish tree nurseries across the Midwest. Johnny Appleseed was a great American. He was great because the seeds from his satchel and the seeds of his good deeds sprouted true. 

But what if Johnny Appleseed had instead been a prankster? What if Johnny Appleseed's satchel contained rotten apple seeds? I am not talking about rotted seeds that would not sprout, but rather, seeds that would one day become trees bearing apples that looked good on the outside but were rotten on the inside. 

If Johnny Appleseed had actually been a trickster, he would have had no trouble fooling everyone because it takes a long time for an apple tree seedling to grow into an apple-producing tree. Who would have known that the seeds they saw Johnny Appleseed plant would grow into young trees that would be worthless? Likewise, who would know just by looking at one of those small young trees that its future apples would look good on the outside but be rotten on the inside? Who would know before it was too late? 

By the time people would have realized that Johnny Appleseed was a prankster, he would be long gone and laughing at them from afar -- and they would be stuck with rotten apples. And if that had happened, then Johnny Appleseed would not be thought of today as a great American, and he would not be remembered as Johnny Appleseed. Instead, Johnny Appleseed would be thought of with disdain, and he would forever be remembered as Johnny Rotten-Appleseed.

There is a man today who is trying to pass himself off as a modern-day Johnny Appleseed. Only a couple of years ago, he traveled around the United States telling Americans that if they would only open their hands to him, he would place the seeds of "hope and change" in their palms. This man is now the president and he has begun planting a whole satchel of his seeds. They are his reform seeds.

He has planted bank reform seeds, auto reform seeds, and czar seeds. Once, he planted a stimulus seed and promised that unemployment would not surpass 8%, but it went to 10%. He told us not to worry because seeds take time. He said that it takes time for a seed to grow into a tree and for that tree to bear fruit. He promised that one day soon, those stimulus apples are going to really taste great. Not to worry, he crowed: He has many more "transformation of America" seeds in his satchel.

Just recently, our president finally got his health care seed planted. This seed, he said, will also take a while to do all that it is expected to accomplish. Once again, he explained, we should not think that things are going to be great right away because it takes lots of time to get delicious apples. In fact, to reassure us, he even joked, "After I sign this bill, lo and behold, nobody's pulling the plug on Granny."

Despite all his confidence-building assurances, however, our president has forgotten one thing. Like a skilled scientist, the overwhelming majority of Americans actually know what is in his health care seed. It has been out there for a long time and been studied with a microscope. We do not need to be told what is in it because we have seen its DNA. Not only have the American people seen the DNA, but we were privy to the excremental fertilizer so generously applied behind closed doors.

Because the American people are so well-informed, we do not have to wait to taste our president's health care apples in the years to come to know what will be in them. We know already. And we don't have to wait to taste the apples of his other planted seeds, either. We know our president for who he is, and he is no Johnny Appleseed.

Today's President Johnny Rotten-Appleseed has many more seeds in his satchel for us. Soon he will be planting an amnesty seed, a cap-and-trade seed, and a fairness doctrine seed.

Of course, there will be those Americans who will say no one can know how the apples will taste until the apple seeds grow into trees and the trees bear their apples. They will say that it is not fair to say that all our president's seeds will be of the rotten apple variety; some may be sweet.

I would say to them, "Think what you want. In the future, you will be hard-pressed to find any Granny Apples."
I can still recall the legend of Johnny Appleseed and the picture of him as he was portrayed in my youth. I see a lanky, barefoot man on a prairie trail hiking across America's heartland, carrying a satchel of apple seeds and generously scattering them as he walks on his way. While he travels, I can see this kind and generous man meeting adults and children and telling them to open up their hands. Then I have my image of Johnny Appleseed placing a few seeds in each palm and promising these folks that if they plant the seeds, they will one day have beautiful apple trees to admire and delicious apples to enjoy.

There really was a Johnny Appleseed. John Chapman was his name, and he really did establish tree nurseries across the Midwest. Johnny Appleseed was a great American. He was great because the seeds from his satchel and the seeds of his good deeds sprouted true. 

But what if Johnny Appleseed had instead been a prankster? What if Johnny Appleseed's satchel contained rotten apple seeds? I am not talking about rotted seeds that would not sprout, but rather, seeds that would one day become trees bearing apples that looked good on the outside but were rotten on the inside. 

If Johnny Appleseed had actually been a trickster, he would have had no trouble fooling everyone because it takes a long time for an apple tree seedling to grow into an apple-producing tree. Who would have known that the seeds they saw Johnny Appleseed plant would grow into young trees that would be worthless? Likewise, who would know just by looking at one of those small young trees that its future apples would look good on the outside but be rotten on the inside? Who would know before it was too late? 

By the time people would have realized that Johnny Appleseed was a prankster, he would be long gone and laughing at them from afar -- and they would be stuck with rotten apples. And if that had happened, then Johnny Appleseed would not be thought of today as a great American, and he would not be remembered as Johnny Appleseed. Instead, Johnny Appleseed would be thought of with disdain, and he would forever be remembered as Johnny Rotten-Appleseed.

There is a man today who is trying to pass himself off as a modern-day Johnny Appleseed. Only a couple of years ago, he traveled around the United States telling Americans that if they would only open their hands to him, he would place the seeds of "hope and change" in their palms. This man is now the president and he has begun planting a whole satchel of his seeds. They are his reform seeds.

He has planted bank reform seeds, auto reform seeds, and czar seeds. Once, he planted a stimulus seed and promised that unemployment would not surpass 8%, but it went to 10%. He told us not to worry because seeds take time. He said that it takes time for a seed to grow into a tree and for that tree to bear fruit. He promised that one day soon, those stimulus apples are going to really taste great. Not to worry, he crowed: He has many more "transformation of America" seeds in his satchel.

Just recently, our president finally got his health care seed planted. This seed, he said, will also take a while to do all that it is expected to accomplish. Once again, he explained, we should not think that things are going to be great right away because it takes lots of time to get delicious apples. In fact, to reassure us, he even joked, "After I sign this bill, lo and behold, nobody's pulling the plug on Granny."

Despite all his confidence-building assurances, however, our president has forgotten one thing. Like a skilled scientist, the overwhelming majority of Americans actually know what is in his health care seed. It has been out there for a long time and been studied with a microscope. We do not need to be told what is in it because we have seen its DNA. Not only have the American people seen the DNA, but we were privy to the excremental fertilizer so generously applied behind closed doors.

Because the American people are so well-informed, we do not have to wait to taste our president's health care apples in the years to come to know what will be in them. We know already. And we don't have to wait to taste the apples of his other planted seeds, either. We know our president for who he is, and he is no Johnny Appleseed.

Today's President Johnny Rotten-Appleseed has many more seeds in his satchel for us. Soon he will be planting an amnesty seed, a cap-and-trade seed, and a fairness doctrine seed.

Of course, there will be those Americans who will say no one can know how the apples will taste until the apple seeds grow into trees and the trees bear their apples. They will say that it is not fair to say that all our president's seeds will be of the rotten apple variety; some may be sweet.

I would say to them, "Think what you want. In the future, you will be hard-pressed to find any Granny Apples."

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