ode to the 4th of july….

Malvina Reynolds. Thanks for telling the story with humor and sharp insight.

The 4th of July is a day that always makes me feel sad. There are the parades filled with Veteran’s proudly marching, some of them so old and fragile, some of them so young and fragile. I love them. I hate the wars they fought in. Wars of occupation or to show one’s might do not make me proud to wave a flag.

The Declaration of Independence makes me proud. It is a rather revolutionary document:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

But then there has been this problem of putting into practice that all men and oh yeah…women…and folks like boys and girls before they become men and women actually being treated equally. And, the policies of the US Government around the world makes one wonder if these words were meant to only apply to Americans or if all people around the world count in the sentiment of those broad and beautiful words. And there is also the major problem of the creating of America on the land and backs of the Native Americans. There is the sticky problem of some places that are kinda like colonies…Guam, Puerto Rico….

These things make it rather hard for me to celebrate the 4th of July as a day of glory. Don’t get me wrong, I love BBQ and beer and hot days by the pool ending in fireworks like any proper American (well I will admit to not liking hot dogs or apple pie all that much).

But, then I remember the inspiration of the ideals of The Declaration of Independence and what the promise of Liberty inspires in people and I celebrate that drive to be free for all of us.

Fredrick Douglas delivered a speech on On July 5, 1852 in Rochester, NY at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. His words honor the depth of what the Declaration of Independence could mean.

The Meaning of the 4th for the Negro

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.

In the spirit of life, liberty and happiness for all beings everywhere my son and I are going to pick cherries celebrating the bounty of this land we live in. We will light a candle tonight to offer up our intention to always work towards and act in line with the truth that until all beings are free non of us are truly free. Happy 4th of July.

Spread Love.

Learn!

Pete Seeger – What did you learn in school today?

KRS One You Must Learn

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~ by asmallfryup on July 4, 2011.

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