Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Morning Reflection: Prose for another Fourth of July
Under a talisman,the wall-hanging of a Plains Indian tribe, we sat talking. Amazed by what had survived and astounded by all that had been lost, stolen, or taken outright,throughout history.
To have been raised to contemplate these things is a gift,however burdensome.That is why we shared the day,despite its contradictions. That is why we raised glasses,smoke,children,whatever was in our hands, in our ancestors' honor.
To truly understand the price of freedom is a blessing. This is the kind of certain knowledge that is passed down through the generations. To preserve it requires a certain amount of steadfastness, without acquiesence, while posessing a kind of acceptance in your heart.
We are uniquely American creations, able to mistaken for one people or another, at many given times. There are many approaches to that question,but one truth. To know who you are is one kind of knowledge they can't take.
I have been reading a lot Fredrick Douglass lately. His life,mind, and fearlessness are unbelievable and awe- inspiring to me. I reccomend reading his Fourth of July speech, given in 1852, to everyone.
What, to the American slave, is your 4th 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 sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, 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 on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.
Now that's gangsta...