I’ve seen this before. I’ve heard it all before. “Land of the free, home of the brave.” That’s what some people say. All of this has been said before; these differences in opinion are not new but have been pointed out before. Finger pointing from the grave.
It’s not a happy fourth of July for all Americans. Still, many European Americans cannot come to grips with this reality or the fact that the Civil War was fought over slavery, that some Americans saw fellow human beings as property. Today, we fight over monuments to Confederate soldiers, with African Americans wanting them to go but European Americans wanting them to stay. It is a historical tug-o- war.
There has also been a lot of push back on the meaning of the American way. Historically, not everyone has been allowed to chime in and they are now having their say. It has been called a reckoning on race, on patriarchy, on colonialism, on the Church in North America complicit. No longer able to hide behind buildings, many people can see the hands and strings attached to scripture, pulled out of context and made to say things. Americans are learning the other sides of the story and it has not been easy listening.
It is hard on the ears and doesn’t go down easily. The story of America’s “Manifest Destiny” is being reconsidered and going down in history as a premise for kidnap, murder, slavery, attempted genocide. And it needs to be said again and again. This truth must be penned down, pinned down and fastened, stitched to America’s flag but not merely an attachment or addendum to history.
The United States of America is united in name only. It got its start on the backs of the African people that European colonizers kidnapped, beat and enslaved. It stole the land and told those indigenous to what is now the U.S. to keep it moving. See the “Trail of Tears” and the wars that forced the First People to fight for what was already theirs. X marks the spot as their history, heritage and traditions are crossed out.
Rick Santorum said recently, “There isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.” His statement is clear evidence of the rewriting of history and the need for programs like Native Knowledge 360. Unknowingly, he makes a strong case for the 1619 project and critical race theory. Because the lie is embedded in our educational system, which is a tool of assimilation: “I pledge allegiance to the flag.”
So, both cue the fireworks and famous speeches like Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Short answer: a mockery. America continues with its capitalist brand of democracy, its myth- making machine continues to enlarge its ego as savior of the world while making death deals, back room deals that seal fates and seal off parts of the world for a select few. Because God only blesses America.
History is literally repeating itself. So, when persons begin to tell the story of America’s founding, I have to stop them. Because I’ve heard it all before.
By Starlette Thomas