Obama and Aesop

Eileen F. Toplansky
After learning that the students in my public speaking class at a local college never heard of Aesop's Fables, I found my tattered 1946 edition of Aesop: Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables, selected by John J. McKendry. The book originally commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, features woodcuts dating as far back as 1484.

Dismayed that a 20-year old did not have the vaguest notion of the well-known "The Ant and the Grasshopper fable" I perused the selections when, as if by providential intervention, I came across the fable entitled "The Frogs Who Wanted a King." 

There were frogs which were in ditches and ponds at their liberty.  They all together of one assent and of one will made a request to Jupiter that he would give them a king.  And Jupiter began thereof to marvel.  And for their king he cast to them a great piece of wood, which made a great sound and noise in the water, whereof all the frogs had a great dread and feared much.  And after, they approached to their king for to make obeisance unto him.  And when they perceived that it was but a piece of wood, they turned again to Jupiter, praying him sweetly that he would give to them another king.  And Jupiter gave to them the heron for to be their king.  And then the heron began to enter into the water and eat them one after another.  And when the frogs saw that their king destroyed and ate them thus, they began tenderly to weep, saying in this manner to the god Jupiter, 'Right high and right mighty god Jupiter, please thee to deliver us from the throat of this dragon and false tyrant which eateth us the one after another.' And he said to them, 'The king which you have demanded shall be your master.  For when men have that which men ought to have, they ought to be joyful and glad.  And he that has liberty ought to keep it well, for nothing is better than liberty.

Moral of the Story:  Liberty should not be well sold for all the gold and silver of all the world.

I could not help but think of the 44th President and his soft tyranny.  Most disturbing is that too many Americans are willing to sell their birthright of liberty. 

Almost hourly, Obama continues, through executive orders, to chip away at our freedoms; he seeks to bring America to its knees and calls for moratoriums on oil production; he calls for outright class warfare; he makes Muslim Brotherhood leaders an integral part of government; he panders to racial divisions, and he has no problem with security leaks that endanger the country. He mocks the genuine concerns of allies and he rejects U.S. unilateralism. His signature Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act violates personal liberty and federalism and will provide neither protection nor affordable care.

Aesop's fables are considered "didactic tales. The reader is supposed either to emulate or to beware of the behavior of the actors when faced with a similar situation." One of the artists who popularized the technique of wood engraving for the tales was Thomas Bewick who "felt that the Aesop of Croxall had led hundreds of youths into the paths of wisdom and rectitude." 

Yet, once again, we have failed to educate our young with tales and illustrations that would help them appreciate fine craftsmanship, understand basic guiding principles and reflect upon the fundamental ideas and morals that uplift a people, not demean them.

Eileen can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com

After learning that the students in my public speaking class at a local college never heard of Aesop's Fables, I found my tattered 1946 edition of Aesop: Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables, selected by John J. McKendry. The book originally commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, features woodcuts dating as far back as 1484.

Dismayed that a 20-year old did not have the vaguest notion of the well-known "The Ant and the Grasshopper fable" I perused the selections when, as if by providential intervention, I came across the fable entitled "The Frogs Who Wanted a King." 

There were frogs which were in ditches and ponds at their liberty.  They all together of one assent and of one will made a request to Jupiter that he would give them a king.  And Jupiter began thereof to marvel.  And for their king he cast to them a great piece of wood, which made a great sound and noise in the water, whereof all the frogs had a great dread and feared much.  And after, they approached to their king for to make obeisance unto him.  And when they perceived that it was but a piece of wood, they turned again to Jupiter, praying him sweetly that he would give to them another king.  And Jupiter gave to them the heron for to be their king.  And then the heron began to enter into the water and eat them one after another.  And when the frogs saw that their king destroyed and ate them thus, they began tenderly to weep, saying in this manner to the god Jupiter, 'Right high and right mighty god Jupiter, please thee to deliver us from the throat of this dragon and false tyrant which eateth us the one after another.' And he said to them, 'The king which you have demanded shall be your master.  For when men have that which men ought to have, they ought to be joyful and glad.  And he that has liberty ought to keep it well, for nothing is better than liberty.

Moral of the Story:  Liberty should not be well sold for all the gold and silver of all the world.

I could not help but think of the 44th President and his soft tyranny.  Most disturbing is that too many Americans are willing to sell their birthright of liberty. 

Almost hourly, Obama continues, through executive orders, to chip away at our freedoms; he seeks to bring America to its knees and calls for moratoriums on oil production; he calls for outright class warfare; he makes Muslim Brotherhood leaders an integral part of government; he panders to racial divisions, and he has no problem with security leaks that endanger the country. He mocks the genuine concerns of allies and he rejects U.S. unilateralism. His signature Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act violates personal liberty and federalism and will provide neither protection nor affordable care.

Aesop's fables are considered "didactic tales. The reader is supposed either to emulate or to beware of the behavior of the actors when faced with a similar situation." One of the artists who popularized the technique of wood engraving for the tales was Thomas Bewick who "felt that the Aesop of Croxall had led hundreds of youths into the paths of wisdom and rectitude." 

Yet, once again, we have failed to educate our young with tales and illustrations that would help them appreciate fine craftsmanship, understand basic guiding principles and reflect upon the fundamental ideas and morals that uplift a people, not demean them.

Eileen can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com