Douglass did not rush that day to get to his point, and the point, saying to all assembled, "Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. -- The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn."
Ba Boom! He did not mince words:
"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."
So much, back then, for American "exceptionalism," and, so much for the deep debate that is still with us, when, in rare moments, our polity and media even recognizes the great gaps and inequalities that are dividing and impoverishing the nation.
Douglass ended his soaring declamation with hope, not despair, calling for a renewal of the values of the Declaration and a renewed commitment to justice. He quoted, the "fervent aspirations" of William Lloyd Garrison:
God speed the year of jubilee"The wide world o'er"
When from their galling chains set free,"Th' oppress'd shall vilely bend the knee,
And wear the yoke of tyranny"Like brutes no more."That year will come, and freedom's reign,"To man his plundered fights again"Restore.
Amen to that call to restore "plundered rights" on that July 4th and all that would follow.
Sadly, one promised set of holiday fireworks I was waiting for this year, seems to have been postponed or squashed, according to Op-ed News: