Monday, July 05, 2010
"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."
~ Frederick Douglass "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro", 1852
Each July 4th I am reminded of the classic speech made almost 150 years ago, which fully sums up my feelings about self-congratulatory displays of patriotism made whilst the list of crimes is added to on a daily basis by a government representing not its people, but transnational corporations which despise the very ideals that we are supposedly celebrating. Like most people, I want to join the herd and wave the flag in pride, but unlike so many people, my grasp on reality won't let me. I can feel a quick tinge of emotional patriotism when the promise of what this country is about is alluded to, followed almost instantly by a sense of rage because that promise is so tragically unfulfilled.
To the reactionaries that would call me "Anti-American", I ask for a definition of that phrase. I am anti-war, anti-exploitation, anti-corporate oligarchy, and anti-environmental destruction. I don't approve of democratically governments being overthrown by our government because they threaten the profit margin of an influential cartel of international gangsters. If that's what you mean, then yes, I am Anti-American. And proud of it.
Perhaps someday soon this system will be forced to fall under its own weight. It is unsustainable and therefore will be brought down eventually. But what would make me most proud as a citizen of this country, what would make me wave the flag and feel a great rush of pride, would be if "we the people" forced it to fall BEFORE then. Before it had consumed everything in its destructive path. Now THAT would be worthy of a grand celebration!