Sunny, high of 86 today, clear tonight with a low of 60.
United Statesians born on the 4th of July include writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804), songwriter Steven Foster (1826), gangsters Meyer Lansky (1902) and George Steinbrenner (1930), oligarch Leona Helmsley (1920) and anti-war activist S. Brian Willson (1941).
The quote of the day on July 4th is often from Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech “The Meaning of the 4th of July to the Negro.” Today, I tried to go instead with a quote from S. Brian Willson: ““What the United States call democracy is actually a vertical model of remote governance by oligarchs…” It’s good, but it doesn’t measure up to Douglass. So, here goes:
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him (sic), 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 sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, 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.
“Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”