I hereby propose the creation of a group to determine, via a thorough and national vetting process, those Americans who in our times are most filled with the spirit of the Greek gods who so significantly influenced the founders of this nation. Great generals will receive the Laurel of the Owl and Shield for displaying heroic endeavor and cunning battle strategy, characteristics of goddess Athena. Great poets and authors will receive the Laurel of the Arrow and Lyre for displaying the poetry and truthfulness attributed to god Apollo. Great diplomats and merchants will receive the Laurel of the Winged Boot for exhibiting the diplomacy and cunning wiles attributed to god Hermes. Great societal disruptors and street artists will receive the Laurel of Helm and Spear for their civil disorder and manly courage, attributes they share with god Ares. Many other gods exist in the Olympian pantheon, and many more Laurels will be issued. The awards will be distributed in recognition of achievements that in significant and measurable ways affect the course of the nation, be they the actions of a spray-painting mad genius or the destruction of a Taliban outpost by special forces operatives dodging bullets in the torn landscape of Helmland province.
The concept of the Laurel of Godlike American Achievement will celebrate people from all castes, all groups, all races, and all religions. It will allow us to select from within our midst those individuals who exhibit the virtues we hold most dear, such as inventiveness, risk-taking, motherhood, and skateboarding where skateboarding is prohibited. It will whip the masses into a great churning froth of Happiness by giving them something to which to aspire, such as vast knowledge of the woodland arts (Artemis), skill in metalworking and sculpture (Hephaestus), and zeal in celebrating eternal youth (Dionysus), aspirations other than those based purely on the accumulation of capital or on the ability to repeat the same religious mantras for years on end. Your suggestions are welcome; your readership is appreciated; your hope springs eternal.
mentiri factorem fecit – 場黑麥