Douglass: Your Boasted Liberty, An Unholy License

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Art and photo by Aïda Amer

To mark this surreal, mournful, furious Fourth - the cheap, bellicose spectacle and "narcissistic travesty" unfolding in D.C while the sick kids swelter like dogs in their ungodly cages - the hacking quarterly 2600 Magazine has compiled and released a list of Customs and Border Protection concentration camps (yes) across the country “being used to imprison migrants, immigrants, and/or refugees, many of whom are children.” Some of the site, they explain, are not actual detention camps, but the addresses and phone numbers of authorities who run the camps. "We are sharing that information here,” they succinctly noted, clearly in hopes of spurring resistance to them. Because this is 2019 and nothing should surprise us, the contact info also appears at concentrationcamps.us and internmentcamps.us. There was, inevitably, commentary. One viewer cited a recent Fox poll showing only 45% of Americans, the fewest ever, are "extremely proud" of their country and asking, "What do you think is causing the decline?" The dry response: "Concentration camps us might have something to do with it."

Many others shared their bittersweet, biting or timeless takes on the day. Bernie Sanders posted the Declaration of Independence: "A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people." Others quoted Lawrence Ferlinghetti: "Pity the nation whose people are sheep/And whose shepherds mislead them/Pity the nation whose leaders are liars/Whose sages are silenced/And whose bigots haunt the airwaves/Pity the nation that raises not its voice/Except to praise conquerers/And acclaim the bully as hero." As ever, Frederick Douglass' famously searing speech on July 4, 1852 rings truest: "What, to the American slave (or kid in cage), is your Fourth of July?...To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity...your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery...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 these United States, at this very hour." Sorry we aren't more celebratory. Go forth, and act.

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Display and photo by Generic Other on Democratic Underground
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