We have had a funeral for Uncle Sam somewhere along the way and it appears to have been a closed ceremony. Back in the War of 1812, Samuel Wilson supplied barrels of beef. On the sides were stamped US, so it became popular to refer to them as Uncle Sam’s barrels (as Samuel Wilson was affectionately known as). Later in the 1860s & ’70s, James Montgomery Flagg popularized the image of Uncle Sam. I get it, The United States (US) also works well.
But I contend there is a third way to look at it, if you think about what the uncle of your family does for you. They take your kid to the movies, buy your kid a birthday present, and maybe sometimes they stay overnight. It’s not their job to clothe, house, feed or teach about sexual topics to your child. That has always been the parents’ roles.
The Government’s Role
I believe when they considered nationally adopting the term Uncle Sam this was factored in as well. A clear defining of what our government’s role should be in our daily lives. Distant, like an uncle. We are so far away from that concept that we now have a Daddy Sam.
We allow schools to steer our children down paths we wouldn’t choose at home, without our permission in many cases. We have a welfare state that helps feed as many as it possibly can. From government housing to Obama phones, we have charted a course opposite what Samuel Wilson may have envisioned we’d travel.
No Sane Uncle
Very recently, we are adding trillions to our deficit in the hopes of besting this virus. But laden throughout are examples of spending no sane uncle would ever give your household. We have a Daddy Sam today, and it didn’t happen overnight. Creeping incrementalism is always at work whether we see it or not.
The quietest of burials took place for Uncle Sam, and I’m not sure anybody noticed. I’d like to tell Uncle Sam that he was onto something that a Daddy Sam will never understand.
Tom Acheson is a writer for NRN. He was raised in Oregon and is a passionate Miami Dolphins fan. Acheson loves to make people think.