The Statue Equation

Most people remember the date, July 4th 1776.  It marked the day that the United States declared its independence from Great Britain.  A lesser known date is June 15th 1775 when George Washington was appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.  It was at this time that George Washington signed his contract containing the “Statue Equation”.  If the quest for independence was successful, Washington was promised at least one statue in each major city, the eventual capital to be named for him and a monument within that future capital.  Since the colonial leadership had their eyes on expansion, he also negotiated an option for a future state to be named for him.  Hopefully at this point, you’ve recognized the ridiculousness of the prior three sentences.  They are completely untrue.

While I’m sure that Washington and others had some selfish reasons for fighting the Revolutionary War, I doubt that statues and monuments were among them.  The ideals of freedom and self determination were most likely more relevant than the fame that would come from victory.  It is a relatively simple equation that in the past we revered those who acted with a higher purpose than themselves.  Today people are revered simply because they are willing to make a spectacle of themselves in the media.

I do not believe that people are inherently foolish but there is a “shell game” that has been played on us or we’ve played on ourselves.  Fame used to be a byproduct of being exceptional at something.  The desired result was being exceptional in a particular area, now the desired result is being famous.  Getting on TV or one million likes on Facebook or Youtube.  When do we stop fooling ourselves that this is what life is truly about?

The key component to being a human being is acting in the interest of a cause bigger than yourself.  Acting in the interest of making yourself bigger than other seems to only make people smaller.

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