With all that has happened in the last few months, this 4th of July doesn’t seem to be a time of celebration. It’s not exactly a time for mourning, but it is close. That which we thought was the promise of America has disappeared in the worst bait-and-switch act ever in our history. The oligarchy we were becoming has morphed into the fascism we once fought against; worse yet, a large part of the population have embraced it, and to the rest it is becoming normal. It is not a birthday worth the candles.
However there are strange glimpses of hope. When conspiracy radio talk host Alex Jones said the liberals will be launching a second Civil War today, people took to Twitter in the best satirical fashion to create notes from the front as “Second Civil War Letters” (I urge you to search #secondcivilwarletters on Twitter and laugh your ass off; I also created my own letter on another blog here). I also took to reading Frederick Douglass’ speech “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July.” Written 166 years ago, it is amazingly prescient today and can help to inspire most of us. If we can come out of those darkest times, we can again.
For today’s 4th of July, I present you with one of America’s greatest treasures with one of America’s great speeches: James Earl Jones reading excerpts from Douglass’ “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July.” This was presented as part of Howard Zinn’s “The People’s History of the United States.”
The speech itself is worth reading in its entirety, and you can here.