Thursday, July 3, 2008

True Patriotism

On July 5, 1852, Douglass gave a speech at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, held at Rochester's Corinthian Hall. It was biting oratory, in which the speaker told his audience, "This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn." And he asked them, "Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?"

Within the now-famous address is what historian Philip S. Foner has called "probably the most moving passage in all of Douglass' speeches."

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 his time Fredrick Douglas was often called unpatriotic. This man who worked hard to convince President Lincoln of the necessity of the Emancipation Proclamation. This parent who sent his own son off to a Civil War that gave no guarantee there would be freedom for African American slaves. This man who gave so much for so litttle respect in return during his life time was often considered unpatriotic.

So, This is what I will rembert this July 4th: Sometimes patriotism is being able to love your country so much that you know it is your sacred duty to point out it greatness flaws and faults so that things will be better in the future for everyone .

Happy Independence Day everyone.

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