WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM ERNIE LEE BROWN, JR. (THE TURTLE MAN)
The popularization of the vulgar and the sacrilegious; the refusal of many to accept personal responsibility for their lives and to expect public assistance at every turn; and the duplicity so common in politicians makes us long for a return to a simpler America, to an America that once was. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Americans were possessed of greater intestinal fortitude, greater virtue, greater respect for the Golden Rule, and far greater self-reliance.
In its reality series, Call of the Wildman, Animal Planet has unwittingly revived awareness of this more virtuous and self-reliant aspect of America, more characteristic of us in yesteryears. In what is a real life sequel to the Beverly Hillbillies, replete with comparable hilarity, Call of the Wildman is a gift to the world, revealing the essential, unvarnished American character. The person of Ernie Lee Brown, Jr. is truly remarkable, remarkably American in the historic sense.
Brown neither smokes nor drinks. He appears not to use profanity or to swear. He is physically fit. He lives humbly and not on government assistance (although he previously could qualify for it). His home is modest without electricity and in-door plumbing. He lives off the land. He earns a living doing something that the rest of society finds far too difficult: catching critters that go astray into human environs. He does not kill the animals he captures but sets them free. He is a very hard worker. He is conscientious. He is respectful. He is brave. He has been injured many times. He does not complain. And now, he is a millionaire, having earned the favor of millions of delighted Americans who find watching his “live action” exploits comedic and irresistible entertainment.
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His is quintessentially an American story. He is a modern day Davy Crockett, a real life Huckleberry Finn. At root, he is a man of virtue, integrity, honesty, decency, and labor. He is an excellent example for Americans who may have forgotten the kind of people we once were. Europeans used to look down their noses at the rustic Americans but Alexis de Tocqueville found much to admire in the simple decency, honesty, and humility of the hard working and inventive Americans of that age. Americans like Ernie Lee Brown, Jr. settled this country, transformed swamp lands into cultivatable fields, and built the nation’s essential infrastructure—all with backbreaking work and few complaints.
People like Ernie Lee Brown, Jr. made this nation great. They harbored a love of liberty, a respect for life, and a quest for property with a full acceptance of life’s consequences.
Children love to watch the Turtle Man because he is to them an American super hero come to life. He is brave. He is honest. He is decent. He accepts every challenge, and he prevails by force of will power and physical stamina. If we can remember, that is who we were and who we must become again if we are to regain the culture that made us Americans and made us great.
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