Many people I know are depressed this July 4th weekend of 2020. Why the hell not.
A racist, criminal traitor who has allowed Russian bounties to kill American soldiers is still in the White House, and we have lost more than 135,000 people from a mishandled Pandemic which rages on.
Almost 4 million have been sick from the virus. There are record spikes in Florida, Texas, Arizona, Montana, South Carolina, Mississippi and California, and for the 26th straight day record average new case totals across the nation.
Even after the nation and the world watched George Floyd die brutally and without cause at the hands of police, and a catalog of deaths of Black women and men have been exposed - Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Freddie Grey, and too many others, despite massive public support and protests, Black people continue to be abused and to die through police violence. Death, we have learned, is a possible, sometimes likely outcome of American racism.
Even Lynching is still not a Federal crime.
Yes, as a nation, we are recognizing and confronting the existing systemic racism. Yes, Black Lives Matter is the largest protest movement in U.S. history, supported by more than 64-67 percent of Americans and 15 million to 26 million people in the United States participated in demonstrations over the death of George Floyd and others in recent weeks.
But our current situation is still this: Black workers face two of the most lethal preexisting conditions for coronavirus—racism and economic inequality. 1 in 1,500 Black Americans has died from coronavirus.
Across the Board, about 40 million Americans are unemployed, at levels higher than at any time in six decades, toward the end of the Great Depression.
And, despite polls showing up to 14% gap favoring Joe Biden to be the 46th President elect as of November 3rd, 2020, with a Blue majority both in the House and Senate, many fear that voter suppression, Russian interference, and general GOP cheating will again steal the Election.
How can we celebrate a nation beaten and battered, which has failed to meet its own ideals.
As always, history gives us courage.
Others before us have faced catastrophe before too.
In addition to wars including civil war, America has faced highly contagious illnesses before.
Small pox brought by Europeans at the start of the 18th century first devastated many, especially native peoples. Smallpox continued to halt life and activities throughout America until vaccination began in1800. Daily life was distrusted and curtailed. Yes, schools and universities closed too.
By the early 19th century, not just smallpox, yellow fever measles, and malaria recurrently overwhelmed Americans especially in cities like New York and Philadelphia. Travel halted.
Then there was the Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919.
And AIDS caused by HIV, found its way to the United States as early as 1960, but became more widespread during the 70's, 80's, 90's, killing disproportionately members of the gay, and minority and disadvantaged communities. According to the CDC, since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, nearly 675,000 people with AIDS in the United States have died, and even today, nearly 13,000 people with AIDS in the United States die each year.
The flu threat disappeared in the summer of 1919 when most of the infected had either developed immunities or died.
In 1980, the 33rd World Health Assembly declared smallpox eradicated world-wide.
Today, thanks to activism which brought about changes in public policy, leading to testing, medical treatment and safe practices, approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. live with HIV. There is still no AIDS vaccine.
Therefore, until there is a Covid vaccine, wear your mask and keep social distance if you cannot stay in.
But remember too, that as we wait for vaccination and long for the end of the Trump Regime, keep your courage, dear friends, Things are bad but we can recover from the Pandemic. There are ways too to fight against America's failures and move closer to the America we want.
Watch the descendants of Frederick Douglass read his words, What to the slave is the Fourth of July, Douglass 1852.
‘What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?’: Descendants Read Frederick Douglass' Speech | NPR www.youtube.com
Then, read Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States, written by Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, read by Anthony in a surprise visit by Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Sara Andrews Spencer, Lillie Devereux Blake and Phoebe W. Couzins, to the official platform at the National 1876 Independence Day ceremony in Philadelphia In 1876.
Last, watch Daveed Diggs, who originated the roles of Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the musical history, Hamilton, teach us again what we can reject and embrace as a nation: What to my people is the 4th of July. Douglass with a modern context.
Daveed Diggs asks: “What to My People is the Fourth of July?” www.youtube.com
Yes, as history reminds us, America has not met its own aspirations.
We all now know too, even Hamilton, in some ways, the best of the Founding Fathers, screwed up.
Watch Hamilton this weekend if you can or read Ron Chernow's biography, both a chance to think about how America began.
Watch Hamilton compromising so that slaves were fixed in the American constitution as less than full humans, self-destructing because he used male privilege to have the extra marital affair that destroyed his ability to be effective.
Yet, Hamilton knew better too.
As he raps,
But we'll never be truly free
Until those in bondage have the same rights as you and me
You and I. Do or die...
It's time to take a shot
Rise up, rise up, it's time to take a shot
Rise up, it's time to take a shot
Rise up, take a shot, shot, shot
It's time to take a shot, time to take a shot
And [we are] ... not throwing away [our] shot
Not throwing away ...[our] shot.
Take Hamilton's advice.
Protest. Talk to others. Register. Vote.
The Vote is our shot.
Your Blue vote can make November 3rd the new Fourth of July.
July 5, 2020