America as a country is rapidly changing – morals, ideals and more. As such, I decided to provide a modern-day adaptation of The Ant and the Grasshopper. The story is known as one of Aesop’s Fables, providing an ambivalent moral lesson about the virtues of hard work and the need to plan for the future. As a self-made entrepreneur who has sacrificed so much in order to build my business, the adaptation below is an interpretation of what such a fable may look like today.
In the ancient fable, the ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and saving supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away (as so many of us would want to). Of course, come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold. The ending of the version which I was read as a child has two sayings at the end: “Idleness brings want,” and “To work today is to eat tomorrow.”
In the modern version, the ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and preparing for the winter. He works hard, pays 50% in taxes to the government and spends ample time complying with government regulations as he prepares supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving. The liberal media lines up and supports protests against the rich ant – as they run ad naseum supporting stories of the shivering grasshopper.
The grasshopper hosts regular press conferences – and shocks Americans with the sharp contrast. Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” Occupy Wall Street stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group ranting and raving against the 1%. Harry Reid stands up and calls the ant “un-American.”
The liberal Democrats blame President Bush, President Reagan, and others for the maligned grasshopper’s plight. There are countless petitions and wall-to-wall media coverage about how the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs. The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food in a bid for equality.
In a country where today people like Lloyd Blankfein and Sheldon Adelson are demonized, one wonders if America is on a path for a better tomorrow. Lloyd Blankfein is the chairman of Goldman Sachs who was raised in housing projects in the Bronx – his father was a clerk with the U.S. Postal Service (after he lost his job driving a bakery truck), and his mom was a receptionist. As a boy, he worked as a concession vendor at Yankee Stadium. Blankfein attended Harvard University on scholarship and had to work in the cafeteria to pay bills. The man is demonized – due to his success and it is vastly unfair.
Sheldon Adelson was born into a poor immigrant family, the son of a Boston cab driver – and today is the world’s 14th wealthiest man with a net worth approaching $25 billion dollars. He is ideological, driven and focused – and lives by the principles his father instilled in him: “honesty and integrity.” Yet, people like Adelson are demonized.
Success takes sacrifice – and rather than taking from the uber-successful, one should learn from and seek to emulate the uber-successful. It takes sacrifice and is not done easily – Making money and being successful is something to aspire to – not to take from them.
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