Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Happy Fourth of July?
So many of the world's current spectacles remind us of the truth of the words spoken by the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass back in 1852.
"What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States at this very hour."
"The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn."
Watching the racist media follow the George Zimmerman proceedings, wherein the late Trayvon Martin is virtually on trial for being murdered, or the massive government hypocrisy over NSA spying, or President Obama's cluesslessly unselfaware visit to Robben Island in South Africa, or the US act of aggression in forcing down Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane over Europe, it's clear that so much in the world is just not right, so much of the myths about the United States are just so much red-white-and-blue bullshit. Some small amount of observation reveals that the Civil War that was fought to right some of the great wrongs Douglass condemned failed to rectify some of the major flaws in this nation's founding.
“I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.”
“Dark and terrible as is this picture, I hold it to be strictly true of the overwhelming mass of professed Christians in America. They strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Could any thing be more true of our churches?”
“They attend with Pharisaical strictness to the outward forms of religion, and at the same time neglect the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.”
So much work to be done. This fourth of July, time to recommit to a new, real revolution in America.
(You can watch the actor Danny Glover read a portion of the 1852 speech here).