Happy July 4th My Ass!

Amnesia, agnotology, forgetting, propagandizing -- will anyone just listen to Frederick Douglass?

For the sake of brevity, the posting is all about pushing back into the amnesic chambers of the North American mind, dendrites rewired to believe the world is a place where only one species – Americas Consumo-Erectus – is allowed to live with life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and me-myself-and-I religion.

The blustery fireworks displays have been going on for four days, leading to this nightmare that is the United States of Assassination, Murder Inc., United Snakes of America, US of Israel, all fifty stars gleaming with the power of the top global corporations in the world.

Call it the land you love, but make sure the drones are loaded, the poisons shipped off in container ships potent, the pestilence of capitalism fully armed with the parasitic power of one global power, my country tis of thee.

I could hammer and hammer the prison industrial complex eating the American Black Male. I could rattle on and on about the United States of Debts, all the trillions homeowners “owe” the financial loan sharks, thugs, or the trillion plus students owe for virtually worthless degrees in this precarious, at-will, dead-end job America.

I could rattle on how insipid and violent forgetting is, and knowing just enough of the foundations of the lies of history to get a young and old person steaming. Imagine, the state of the world with Hollywood, Big Sports, Bubble-head Big Media, Vapid Mainstream Academia weighing in on the vast sucking sound that is America’s presidential-congressional-gubernatorial set of mistakes, called elections (sic).

Bombs bursting in air, as I cruised down from a pretty cool spot in the mountains, supposedly away from the ghastly 7-11-Walmart-Texaco-McDonald’s dervish of hyper-stupidity, also called mainstreaming, mainlining consumerism.

Nope, driving back to Vancouver at 10 pm, in the rural outback, hundreds of cozy families shooting off hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of fireworks for each nuclear family – big bangs – while I felt the air around me on my 15 year old Honda Shadow.

It’s July 4 when I write this, and nothing is more troubling than how empty the hearts and minds of this culture are, and how each movement in this society – place us anywhere, Portland, SF, NYC, Seattle, Tucson, Chicago, KC, you name it – is a movement of accepting the fate of racism, world destruction, capitalism punishment. We sit and take it day after day – gentrification, the amazingly ignorance of what the real living wage-minimum wage should be: mark that, hmm, way over $23 an hour:

From Inequality.org:

Using 1968 as our benchmark for the minimum wage implies that low-wage Americans today should be making just as much as low-wage Americans were making 44 years ago. That benchmark is — frankly — ridiculous.

Can you imagine Americans of 1968 settling for a minimum wage standard of living that had been set based on 1924 standards? What about 1880 standards? At some point we should expect low-wage workers to start living better than they used to. Don’t low-wage Americans deserve to live in the 21st century, not the mid-20th?

A better way to update the minimum wage is to benchmark it to personal income growth in the economy as a whole.

Per capita real personal income excluding current transfer receipts — that is, the personal income earned in the economy, excluding Social Security and other government programs, adjusted for inflation — has grown by 100.6% since 1968.

In other words, the NELP has it too low — by half. If our standard for minimum wages had kept pace with overall income growth in the American economy, it would now be $21.16 per hour.

Yes, had the US income distribution and US standards of decency remained exactly what it was in 1968, the minimum wage would now be $21.16 per hour.

Conversations are fewer and fewer in between – really robust talks about extracting the world from this silly but very viral, syphilitic thing called capitalism, USA style.

The clock not only has to be set back to zero, but it has to be reversed to get to a future where any semblance of community cohesion is going to take place in this land of the rugged (sic) individual (sic), who lives and dies on his own hard work (sic).

The word is mighty, almost as might as the sword, and more mighty than the intercontinental ballistic missile if those words are parsed and chopped and sway by the propagandists in the hire of the top 500 corporations.

The largest propagandist is, of course, the United States of Amnesia-Agnotology.

So, I give you these United States, today, yet another battle, in Arizona, against Apache, and so emblematic of the entire shooting match we have lost to the controllers, the United States of Israel, the 62 people who control half the global wealth.

From CREDO:

Foreign-owned mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, which owns Resolution Copper, has repeatedly sought control of this copper-rich land over the past decade, lobbying Congress more than a dozen times since 2005.1 They got their wish granted when Arizona’s Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake snuck last minute language into a must-pass 2014 defense bill transferring the land directly to the Rio Tinto mining company.2 And it’s no surprise these two senators were behind it: McCain has received campaign contributions from Rio Tinto subsidiaries for years, and Flake – before being elected to Congress – actually lobbied for a Rio Tinto subsidiary in support of a massive uranium mine in Namibia.

In addition to the important religious, cultural, and historical significance of Oak Flat, Apache residents are worried about the dangerous environmental impact of copper mining in the area. Since copper mining is so destructive, environmentalists are concerned that “since the mining industry is often exempt from portions of environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act, the invasive copper mining project could damage the area’s water – a resource many Native Americans claim a spiritual obligation to protect.”

Any July Fourth without Frederic Douglass is a dead Fourth of July, so, here, 1852, given July 4, Rochester, NY. Mr. Douglass:

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! 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 light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine.

You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”

Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave’s point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not excuse”; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.

The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. “Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God.” In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:

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 rights again
Restore.

God speed the day when human blood
Shall cease to flow!
In every clime be understood,
The claims of human brotherhood,
And each return for evil, good,
Not blow for blow;

That day will come all feuds to end,
And change into a faithful friend
Each foe.

Just whose Independence Day must this be to have Americans and all other imperialists and land grabbers, colonizers, financial thieves, invaders, war-mongers understand that the sun does not rise and set on our collective ignorance of humanity.

Paul Kirk Haeder has covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/ community journalism in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, and PK12 distrcits. He organized part-time faulty. His book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. He blogs from Waldport, Oregon. Read his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.