The Eagle’s Constitution – A Story of Liberty
Once upon a time, all the eagles had forgotten they were eagles. They used to live in high mountain eyries, but someone had convinced them they ought to be living on a farm. They still called themselves eagles, but they had little memory of what their make up was capable of; they had little imagination that their very constitution would allow them to fly. Instead they hunted and pecked. They were sometimes called back to books about the old mountain life, books written by their founding feathers, but mostly the eagles mentioned these ideas in passing, and with little reference to the actual books.
The eagles would get together to vote on important matters. When they would get together, they were often led by a couple of strange birds named Main and Grand. They were odd eagles. They didn’t look like eagles, but they did a really good job of doing what they said was a really good job. They were experts at hunting and pecking for corn.
One of the eagles was not like the others. He was not content to walk slowly around the farm, and to scratch at the dirt. He was alway suggesting they should try to move faster. We should run – he would say, looking to the skies.
“EAGLES DON’T RUN!” clucked Main.
But the troublesome eagle just kept talking about running. He talked about it so much that the other eagles started calling him “Run.” Run would rant and rave about the founding feathers and their call for all eagles to fly. He was a thorn in the side of the likes of Main and Grand. He was even calling for a change in diet. “We weren’t made to eat corn,” said Run.
“EAGLES ONLY EAT CORN!” cackled Grand.
“I think we need mice, like the founding feathers taught us.”
“YOU’RE A KOOK!” said Main in the way he always did as they shut Run up.
But Run’s message became popular among the younger Eagles. They weren’t powerful at first, but they were, in a sense, birds of a feather. They would hang out and read books that Run had written, and talk about his crazy talk. His crazy freedom talk. “We need to run so we can fly, and we need to fly so we can hunt mice!” one would quote. Another would call back, “It’s been so long since we had proper food, that I believe I could eat a squirrel. But we shouldn’t be ashamed to hunger for good food; that’s who we are, and any bird that says otherwise has forgotten what it is to be an eagle. Or worse…he’s no eagle at all!”
But those strange old birds had been in charge for so long that many eagles just accepted what they said.
Over time, it seemed like Run’s “Campaign for Eagleness” was a thing of the past, and new, more menacing policies were coming to the farm for good. Run had run well, but he needed to make way for other birds to take his place. He had a son. A son that he had raised to run. A son that he had fed a steady diet of mice, and game. Run’s son was born running, born looking to fly.
By the time the son of Run got to the voting assembly, Main said sarcasticallly, “Are you going to start running now too?”
The boy eagle said proudly, “Start running now? Shoot! I ran yesterday, and I ran the day before. But this is a new day, and I ran all the way here to start flying.”
The young voices of freedom began that day to call him “Ran.”
Even though Ran carried the voice of his father, Run, the call to aiming at the skies, there was trouble on the horizon. Not too long after Ran came to the farm floor, the skies began to teem with stranger birds than ever, mechanical birds with eagle eyes.
Ran began to speak out about the strange mechanical birds and even about the strange old birds that defended them. But the old birds loved their big nests on the farm, and had no intention of letting young upstarts like Ran get in their way. Nothing could take away their corn, their scratching the dirt, and their clucking.
One day, in the voting assembly, an imporant vote came a day early. The wayward assembly was set to appoint a bird whose associations and actions were questionable. Ran was surprised that he would have to make his move today, but because the cause of freedom was actually deep in his beliefs, and was not a mere show, he was always ready to speak about it from his heart.
He asked for the floor.
“I arise as an eagle today, to flappibuster the nomination of this strange, strange bird. I will call till I can no longer call, I will call as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast, that our constituion allows us to fly, and does not make room for tyranny…We the eagles were meant to fly. Down with the mechanical birds, and up with eagles!”
As Ran spoke of the founding feathers, and the thirteen original eyries…he called for thirteen hours. Each hour like an arrow in the clutch of the Eagle on their great seal.
He made it through because friends came to his side, Eagles like Leap, and Cruise. Even those who were often opponents came to flock together with Ran, because his cause was so obviously just. The flutterverse was overflowing with support: many young eagles were impressed. And even some not so young eagles.
This speech was opening an old and achy wound – why were they not living as eagles?
But some were not happy. Main and Grand knew they could not go along with the incredible popular support that Ran was having, even from both wings of the assembly. They scratched their way to the floor the next day to cast little corns of wisdom at the mounting swarm of emboldened eagles.
“Ran,” clucked Main, “no one thinks we are in any danger. It was simply irresponsible for you to act like we should fly. Many impressionable young birds will get the wrong idea.”
“Yes,” cackled Grand, “Ridiculous ideas!”
But it was too late. As the strange old birds kept speaking, it only demonstrated that they were alone. It became clear that they didn’t like eagles. They didn’t sound like they were eagles. They didn’t want to be high in the eyries of old. They wanted to protect the farm…and corn, and hunting, and pecking, and scratching.
It was too late. Ran was walking away with their birds. Ran was now pointing to the skies. Ran was running. Running for Liberty. And he was not alone.
Ran was running off with so much of the crowd that even Main and Grand had to pretend again, if only for a moment, to be eagles, to have some last voice.
But the running was nearing a cliff, headed for the mountain nests. “STOP,” shouted Main, “there’s a cliff! It’s too dangerous! No one wants freedom…STOP…I can’t flyyyyyy!”
But Ran had already lifted off the edge of the cliff. Ran was rising. Ran was flying, and he was calling back for the history books, “I rise today for liberty!”
The crowds lifted off behind him, remembering who they were. For the first time in ages, they felt their constitution in use. And there, left scratching to a halt at the edge of the cliff, were Main and Grand and their ilk.
“COME BACK! COME BACK, YOU WACKO BIRDS!”
But the eagles forgot about the old strange birds. And the old birds did not fly that day, not because they had forgotten anything about who they were, but really only because they were chickens.
Luke Welch is a conservative in politics. He has a master’s degree from Covenant Seminary and preaches regularly in a conservative Anglican church in Maryland. He blogs about Bible structure at SUBTEXT.