Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Year 2012 - An Essay in Honor of Today's Solar Eclipse

*The following essay was written directly to a group of men in my family whom i deeply care for. It was written on December 21, 2008 and has been edited for your reading. i hope that you'll receive it with understanding for all of the struggles that i face in life and in solidarity with our human family. i chose to publish it today because tomorrow, July 22, 2009, is my eldest son's birth-day and i was even more inspired to share it with you because we are right now in the midst of a Solar Eclipse.
December 21, 2012
-Winter Solstice-
With respect I ask that you please take the time to read this document. You will want to know about this and take it into consideration without setting it aside to get to it later or throwing it away if it becomes to challenging to your current awareness. I write today not only with you in mind but with our entire human family in my heart. Most importantly, this letter will be available to my two sons Kinan & Illimani in the future as a way of reaching out to them through writing to their family and community. With this letter and many of the others I have or will write to you over the years my children and all of our future generations will have firsthand knowledge from one who loves them on the issues we face and how I feel about all of the many complexities in our lives that they will face. They will have my thoughts and hopefully my example to measure up to other experiences and ways of seeing things that are or will be related to them. This is extremely important to me as their Father. I want them to know that through it all I did not use silence to try to protect me or our family. Silence will not protect any of us. They must know that I risked it all to pursue clarification. That by challenging our way of thinking with knowledge and some morality I summoned enough courage to be able to stand open and bare to criticism, being wrong, accused, judged, or even worse attacked, abandoned, and hated. All of these things can be damaging but nothing is more so than silence. Our measure will be in where we stand in moments of challenge and discomfort and our children should always know that we hold fast to all the principles of light during these times. I for one do not wish to fail them. With this in mind, I write not to destroy but to share in the wonderful tradition of all the great writers and thinkers in history who have used the pen to communicate to one another the need for continuous growth, change, and rebirth. Let's evolve!

I open with a prayer:
I do not ask to travel the easy road, but for courage to endure the road I am on.
I do not ask for fulfillment but for humility to accept what is in my path.
I do not ask for perfection in all I do, but for the wisdom not to repeat my mistakes.
I do not ask for these gifts before saying thank you for all you have given me.
Mitakuye Oyasin – All our relations – Aho

On this Winter Solstice – the longest night of the year – our psychological tolerance for darkness is profoundly being challenged. It is a visionary time. It is a time that represents not only the pitch black of night, but also a seed of something that will unfold in the coming year. In this time, we pray for a future as great as our ancestors give to us, for their wisdom to see the prison we are constructing for ourselves, the graves we are digging. To be able to look around at all of the artificial constructs that separate us from nature and know that in the years to come they will be multiplied a hundredfold. A world without direct sunlight, with no fresh air, water, or natural food, can our spirits survive in such a world? The challenge and opportunity that is now is unprecedented. Being the leaders that we are I know that we can rise to the challenge and make the choice to respond appropriately.
December 21, 2012 is four years away and I’d like to take this moment to ask you if you have heard of or have been able to set time aside to study the book, “Maya Cosmogenesis 2012”? I ask this and write about this date because it is so important and connected to our lives and behavior. 2012 is fast becoming commercialized and becuase of this in ways many people are being misled as to the deep and profound meaning of our “date with destiny”. One good thing though is that people are asking questions. They want to know more. I hope that you take the time to read Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 by John Major Jenkins and any other books you will encounter on 2012. (There is a list at the end of this) Read them all. Take in every perspective because so many people are talking about it, writing about it, and attempting to find out exactly what it means and it would benefit you greatly to study and come to your own conclusions.
As for myself, in 1998 I was fortunate to have stumbled upon the work of John Major Jenkins. I was up very late listening to the radio and changing the dial when I heard the words “Mayan” and “calendar”. I tuned in and could barely hear over the static just enough to catch the end of an interview with the author. It was new and amazing information he was sharing about an end date, cosmology, calendrics, pyramids, and our Sun being reborn. I listened intently and then was absolutely astonished when he spoke of the Mayan Sacred bible the “Popol Vuh” because just the day before I had finished reading it in its entirety. It took me a good month to study this text, one of the last 3-4 holy scriptures the murderous Spanish priests didn’t destroy. I had much trouble understanding the text at the time because it was the very first real study I had made of our ancestral literature that uses mythological story form to relate and teach us all about astronomical phenomenon. But when Jenkins spoke that night everything became clear. All of the information I had taken in became understandable. He spoke of the Popol Vuh as the book, the sacred text written in the 1500’s that is the code or piece of many puzzles that tells about the date December 21, 2012.
The Popol Vuh is one of our creation stories. It is a piece of our biblical texts that encompasses the written form of our spiritual knowledge. How is it related to the Mayan Calendrical end date and Winter Solstice on December 21, 2012? You’ll have to study deeply both the Popol Vuh and Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 to know but it’s important in this letter to tell you that both teach us that we are in the midst of a universal change that is so profound that you would never believe what is taking place if you don’t make an attempt to study it. I’ll do my best for you here though with the hope that you’ll trust in what I’ve learned and my ability to be honest.
We are talking about nothing less than revolution. According to Maya science, prophecy, Maya time philosophy, cosmology, astronomy, architecture, mythology, and calendrics we are in the midst of the end of a 5,125 year time cycle. What’s more, is that our ancestors discovered this world age end date while observing and mapping a slow celestial cycle or cosmic shifting called the “precession of the equinoxes” which is the big word used to describe how the earth wobbles on its axis. While spinning, moving around the Sun, and wobbling, the earth through precession has been causing the celestial position of the December solstice sun to slowly approach the center of our galaxy better known among many names as: THE MILKY WAY- THE DARK RIFT- NUCLEAR BULGE – THE ROAD TO THE UNDERWORLD (OUR UNCONCIOUS) OR “XIBALBA BE” IN THE POPOL VUH – THE GALACTIC CENTER – THE WOMB OF OUR MOTHER – THE BIRTH CANAL – OUR GREAT SKY MOTHER – THE GOAL RING IN THE BALLGAME “TLAXTLI” – THE THRONE – OUR HEART.
This is a very rare astronomical process/ alignment that culminates in 2012. And it’s an alignment that happens only once in every 26,000 years! This 26,000 year cycle or world age represents a cycle of spiritual unfolding for humanity. It is in a sense a process of human spiritual gestation. As stargazers we were very in tune and interested in our orientation to the larger cosmos. We were/are Galactic Cosmologists who have developed a science and philosophy that exceeds anything yet encountered by western science. It is a science of cycles of time that we learned about by tuning in to and observing nature cycles, plant growth, the human life cycle, and the cycles of the planets. Through this we come to understand profound things about the processes that created beings go through. And we learn that the processes in the heavens reflect all of the processes on earth and the other way around too. It is the principal of – AS ABOVE SO BELOW or THE MICROCOSM REFLECTS THE MACROCOSM. This principal lies at the heart of and is the foundation of our worldview as INDIGENOUS THINKERS.
And it wasn’t primarily a sky/earth connection that sewed together our mind and body but also all of the inner dreams and visions of spiritual unfolding that happens on our planet is reflected in the outer universe in the cycles of the planets. This is one reason why we built our pyramids, temples, homes, and lodges oriented to the skies in very specific and mathematical ways. We were making a statement about the relationship between our architecture, our inner reality, and the larger universe. We designed to reflect the cosmic order and project our love of GOD within. In effect, we are the cosmos! Know that this is relationship. Not ego. It is self-sacrifice for power in terms you or I have been indoctrinated by Western minds to look down upon because it does not lead to the false power and status so many of us seek in our daily lives dressed up in a suit and tie mimicking the white Capitalist authoritarian patriarchal CEO who serves money and greed. These are the megalomaniacs whose ego has run rampant with extreme selfishness such that it blinds him/her to having a real connection and relationship to our true selves and others. The true self is an eternal/infinite source consciousness. So the struggle plays out: Limited consciousness vs. the eternal divine self from which we all spring. Which do you choose to work towards? How do we balance? How do we come back into right relationship with ourselves and decolonize our minds? We must reclaim our indigenous minds. Not annihilate but sacrifice the ego to make it transparent so that the eternal wisdom of the true self reflected in the cosmos can shine through. This is a core teaching embedded in the Mayan creation mythology and all Native original teachings. This is power. This is decolonization.
The colonizers changed our tribal perception of reality. They changed and altered the spiritual perception of reality and turned it into a religious perception of reality. Religious perception is about submission and obedience and authoritarianism. For example, they put our physical bodies on reservations and in Missions to break the mind and used curfews, fences, and slave labor to break the body. They disallowed us to live on our traditional diets of fruits, seeds, grains, and introduced the Cow, Pig, and Goat, alcohol, milk and other putrefying fast food substances that have created diabetes, heart disease, and cancers in all of our families today. Through their populare culture glamorized in the media they have created fashionable watches to wear and made us believe that the Gregorian calendar and method of keeping time was/is superior to our balanced and in sync cosmological sacred and solar calendars. They separate your head and body, make you believe that matter comes before energy, and that spirit is non-existent effectually shattering your heart and they call this power. But we know according to our original teachings that power is not a man made device or structure. Power is not a political, religious, or social system. That’s not power. These are systems of authority that lead to destruction and disunity. The reality of power is an entirely different reality, and that reality is US – human beings…the power of highly evolved human beings. And to be a human being, we have to connect to the reality of our relationship to power. We have to transform and renew and we are indispensable participants in this process of transformation. Free will! Can we live up to the responsibility of reclaiming our cosmological birth right? December 21, 2012 is upon us and the previous world age along with all of its behaviors are coming to an end. This chapter in the human experience is terminated. A great cycle comes to completion and challenges us to seize the opportunity to establish right relationship with the true self. It is our duty.
On December 21,2012 the cosmic solar father and the Galactic center, the heart of the cosmic mother will be united. We align with the alignment. We will be restored if we choose to sacrifice and surrender our attachment to limitation and the illusion of security, contentment, progress, or success under the Devil’s forms of unity and organization in its structures of false reality. We speak here of the Satanist’s because they are the historical roamers over land and sea who bring destruction and chaos. They are the atomic bombers, the mass murderers whose purpose in this plane of existence is to and has been to attempt to disrupt and destroy the earth and all love. They are the drugs and arms dealers, creators of private property, massive prisons, and The Corporation. They are the invaders of our DNA and cell structures, and the negative energy workers who profess that their reality of fear is the only reality. Their existence is a crime and they too are in touch with the astronomical fact that their time is up. They have always been in a crisis of connection with the eternal energy, the cosmic mother, the solar father, the galactic womb because of their way of acquiring and promoting the non-intuitive approach to acquiring knowledge. Their approach is external and based on satisfying their taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing through the collection of data, graphs and charts, suits and ties, banks and land deeds. This is their relationship to the world and to power. It is this relationship to existence that has caused them to want to control and own everything they can. They are vain and extremely uncompromising. They are false rulers, controlling and deceiving humanity. They are the descendants of darkness whose egos try to rule and who create a backward upside down world. This is the ego believing it is the true center of the world. It is the story of the Fallen One.
Our prophecies tell us that this is an expected and predicted development that happens at the end of every great cycle or world age. The perennial teachings of all of the world’s great spiritual traditions teach us that at the end of the cycles vain egoism is the dominant paradigm ruling and ruining everything and almost everyone on the planet. Each forgets his/her true nature and eternal consciousness loses itself in the vicissitudes of mortal life disconnected from being in contact with the source. But, in the great mythic structure of time the lost consciousness comes around to remember itself with all of the help from the cosmos and gets reinitiated back into an awareness that instead of being lost in the limited state of egoism actually arrives in a deeper essence that is rooted in the eternal and infinite. This is redemption, salvation, rebirth, evolution! Unless, we refuse in our cemented minds, reactionary and stale emotions, and handicapped visions to humble ourselves and eliminate ego consciousness we will not survive or be truly at peace and connected in balance and love in 2012.
This is not some arbitrary belief system of a forgotten people. What we find through INDIGENOUS philosophy is the key to our holistic health. Our responsibility now is to remember and ultimately ACT. And after committing to remembering what we have been taught to forget and be ashamed of we must stay dedicated and honest in our attempt to be a new individual, community, parent, friend, lover, and reborn warrior organizing not for money, fortune, fame, microphone time, camera shots, or shallow recognition, but for true freedom and the return to the path of the true self our ancestors exemplified.
At this point you may be a bit dismissive of what I’m relating to you especially if you see the world through the Colonizers lenses. If you’ve even convinced yourself over many years and through adolescent rebellion that you’re an Atheist and call yourself one you may laugh at the thought of human behavior and existence being shaped and molded by cosmological energy and the position, motion, vibration, and weight of the planets. It’s okay. You don’t have to believe or confirm for it all to be taking place. You only have to look at the condition of your life and all of the relationships you have come into on this planet. Are you connected? Are you trying to be in touch with others in a real way and more importantly with your own soul, your pain and anguish, and with your past? In turn, are you in touch with our Mother Earth? Do you protect and honor her by planting trees, cultivationg love by growing food, saving water, reducing everything you consume and throw away? Do you wholeheartedly defend her right to exist? Can you work in unison with her or do you cement and build over her flesh, destroy her lungs by killing trees, pollute her womb by not recycling, reusing, and conserving? Do you use her plant medicine to prevent and cure sickness and dis-ease or do you vaccinate, swallow pills, and cut body parts out that speak to loud for your soul to hear? Do you make a ritual and ceremony with others using alcohol to feel good? What relaxes your unbalanced emotions and stress? Can you hunt in time of need to find your own food and properly use an entire animal for sustenance? Can you find your own water to quench your family’s thirst? What will you do when that inevitable day arrives under the Colonizer’s control when the stores close, banks shut down, police take to the streets, curfew’s are imposed, and all of the state provided energy to your home is cut? Will you remain an Agency Indian begging for hand-outs and rations, working within the structure and framework they establish to petition and redress grievances or will you rebel and encourage others to do the same? Can you fix things, use tools, and most importantly improvise or do you depend on and hire others to fix your leaky and lazy habits? Can you truly say today as leaders, role models, organizers, teachers, and community activists that your personal life reflects your public life and persona…(The microcosm/macrocosm – as above so below Maya/Indigenous time philosophy)? Or do you feel like you’re living 2,3,&4 lives?
It has been said that the true measure of a community is in the condition of its women. How are your daughters? Your wives, what men are in their lives and are you in touch with yourself enough as men to know and acknowledge that their relationship to and with men is a direct reflection of their feelings toward and for you? How are they able to get your attention as your offspring, negatively or positively? How are all of your grandchildren?
“Indigenous people love children above all else, they are the hope of the future and justification for all of the trials and tribulations we face in life as parents. Kids guarantee the perpetuation of our family and continuous upholding of our honor. They are the focus of very much of our time – or should be – and almost all of our attention so that the future is guaranteed as for the majority successful. Most importantly is the time they spend with their grandparents, as these have both the most time to devote to their care and wisdom to pass on to the next generation. If we’re too busy as parents our most important sense of self and continuity come from the very old, who are kind, gentle, considerate, and wise with us, particularly as children.” (Taken from the book: "The Spirit of Indian Women" by Judith Fitzgerald)
Is this your feeling or do you look upon your grandchildren/children as a burden, an income, a punishment for your own parental shortfalls with your own children? Do you strive to use gentleness and all of the other positive techniques you are happy to use with others in public and at work? Or do you strike your grandchildren/children with belts, your fists, your feet, your words, and overt power? Do you seek to punish, be vengeful, manipulative, or create guilt dependency in your relations?
In essence, what I am asking is are you ready and preparing for the completion of the circle, the galactic alignment, harmonic convergence, and REBIRTH! Are you on linear time or a circular thinker? Are you reaping well sown seeds in the evolutionary process of becoming or growing old, stale, burdened, spiritually handicapped, Godless, cemented and unmoving, reactionary, illogical, and a slave to your 5 senses? Let us pray together:
“Grandfather, Grandmother,Great Spirit...
You have been always, and before you no one has been.
There is no other to pray to but you.
Everything has been touched by your soul.
The star nations universe wide you have finished.
The four quarters of the earth, the day, and in that day,
everything you complete.
Great Spirit, lean close to the earth so you may hear the voice I send.
Where the sun goes down, behold your son; Thunder Beings, behold me!
Where the white giant lives in power and lightening, behold your creation.
Where the sun shines continually, whence the day-break star and the night,
I stand before you in humbleness where summer lives, in the depths of the heavens,
An Eagle of Power.
And Mother Earth, our provider, you have shown mercy to your children.”

Fe, Amor, Y Paz.
Hueteotl Lopez
– 2012 –
*This essay can also be found along with other's at my blog:
* Here is a list of books that you will most definately like to read if you are interested in learning more:
1. The Mayan Factor - Jose Arguelles - This is one of the greatest most important life changing books i have ever read that brought to me the beginning of the understanding of HARMONICS. That is, the vibratory nature of the universe and how our indigenous ancestors were in tune mathmatically with God's cosmological music. I recommend this book to everyone for a deep and slow study of 2012.
2. Time and the Technosphere - Jose Arguelles ....same as above.
3. The Mystery of 2012 - Predictions, prophecies, & possibilites...a wonderful collection of work by many authors that gives different but balanced points of view on the idea of Maya cosmology and thought.
4. Galactic Alignment - John Major Jenkins...another fantastic book by Jenkins that builds on all of his work in his book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012.
5. The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness - Carl Johan Calleman, Ph.D. with a forward by Jose Arguelles. This is an absolutely fantastic read!
6. The Mayan Code - Time Acceleration and Awakening the World Mind By: Barbara Hand Clow. Please read this book and especially her wonderful work on all the people in the world who believe in the "End Times" philosophy. Her book is aptly entitled "Catastrophobia". An amazing book that puts to rest all of the fear and loathing over the world coming to an end and all the professors of that idea.
7. The Hopi Survival Kit - The Prophecies, Instructions, and Warnings Revealed by the Last Elders. By: Thomas E. Mails. PLEASE READ THIS BOOK. i cannot stress this enough. This book shook me to the core and will always be a classic read in my library.
8. Return of the Bird Tribes - Ken Carey . Absolutely deep reading when you have already read all the basic material on indigenous thought processes.
9. Mitakuye Oyasin - "We are all Related" By: Dr. A.C. Ross...This book was given to me in the year 2000 by a person who i consider one of my spiritual mentors. He knew that it would help decolonize my mind and open up the path for me to begin my journey on the Red Road. I met Dr. Ross many years later and had a wonderful conversation with him about how his writings affected my soul. This book is a must for all young people.
10. Ancient Americas - Maya, Aztec, Inka & Beyond. By: Nicholas J. Saunders. This book and the next two i will list go good together.
11. Day of Destiny - John Mini. If you want an amazing understanding of the deep intracies and math of the Mexica Sun Stone, the cosmos, your body, electricity, medicine, chemistry, physics, etc. then find this book and you won't put it down!
12. The Aztec Calendar Math & Design - Charles William Johnson.
13. Breaking the Mayan Code - Michael D. Coe. This and any of Coe's books are a great starting point and always good reference forever on Mayan culture..
14. 2012 and the Galactic Center - The Return of the Great Mother. By: Christine R. Page, M.D. You'll really enjoy this little story that connects Mayan/Egyptian thought.
15. And...for the Athiest's i leave you with the last two recommendations among so many other books:
*Time and Reality in the Thought of the Maya - By: Miguel Leon-Portilla
*The Natural History of the soul in Ancient Mexico - By: Jill Leslie McKeever Furst. These books will decolonize!
**Almost forgot one of tha bible's of decolonization:
The Wretched of the Earth - By: Frantz Fanon -

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"Papa, What is The 4th of July?"

July 4th, 2009

At 4 years old my little boy has asked questions that he never asked at the age of 3. Such as, “Papa, why do they blow things up like that?” “Who makes the fireworks?” “Why is it so loud?” “Why don’t we buy fireworks Papa?” As for my 3 year old, he’s not even aware that humans under the cover of darkness are lighting those things. For all I know, to him the sky could just be on fire and exploding, coming to an end right before his eyes. Which, judging from him saying he’s scared and wanting to go back inside to watch Dora the Explorer could very well be the case.
As a father of these two beautiful little human beings I’ve come to remember something that I forgot: For little newcomers to our earth and all the adult inventions and creations the 4th of July can be a frightening experience. It definitely scared my son’s, neither of whom could sit outside on our back porch for more than a half hour and watch everyone else explode fireworks around them in their neighborhood so I hugged them and we sat together answering his questions and I took the opportunity to feed his little but very intelligent, concerned, and truth seeking mind with information about our country’s love affair with explosives.
“You see son, every year about this time the entire country we live in celebrates war. In fact, in this country that we are citizens of during every month of the year everyone knowingly or unknowingly celebrates war. This happens by being told, persuaded, suggested to, and sold war and the culture of celebrating it in movies, commercials, billboards, football games, before all athletic games, and even on school campuses. The latter of which you will have to remember the most because after growing up year after year being bombarded with an entire culture and way of life that is built on the foundations of war, you’ll turn 18 years of age and a man called a recruiter will be given your phone number and address and approach you in a clean cut hair cut, firm words and muscles, shiny shoes and a perfectly pressed suit and ask you to join him in training to join the army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines, travel to exotic distant lands; meet exciting, unusual people and kill them.
The sounds you hear every year on the 4th of July will in many ways prepare you for this. And you’ll need it if you decide to listen to them because these are the sounds millions of people all over the world have heard when airplanes fly over and moments later drop tons of bombs or several massive bombs on earth in places like Hiroshima or Nagasaki killing 350,000 – 500,000 humans or 300,00 humans in Vietnam (50,000 + U.S. soldiers too), 500,000 humans in Laos, 600,000 in Cambodia, over 400,000 humans in Central American countries, 4million five hundred thousand in Korea, or over 1 million Iraqi’s to date so far…………and the invasions and conquest and plunder keep rolling forward like everlasting U.S. made thunder. And, my son, since we are Native Americans indigenous to this land I have to tell you about all of our ancestors, all 80million plus of our grandfathers and grandmothers in the America’s who were not only killed but who’s souls were destroyed by the outlawing of our culture, our language, our dress codes, hairstyles, our religion, our concept of time, our food, and most importantly our whole continental land mass was lost to invaders led by a group of people who have never stopped celebrating, teaching, preaching, and promoting war as an answer to every one of life’s complexities.
You must remember first and foremost too son that, as Brigadier General Smedley Butler, America’s most decorated soldier once said, “War is a Racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious.” “A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of a war a few people make huge fortunes.” “How many of these millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dugout? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried the bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?”
These are the questions you’ll have to remember to ask my beautiful son when they come knocking on our door to try to take you and thousands of other young men and women away and off into the world to hurt others for their corporate profits wearing the mask of a corporate created bogey man or terrorist in the world.
I love you so much son and I cannot lie to you. The 4th of July is no longer a celebration of revolutionary wars of liberation. It no longer reminds us to support all of those self-defensive combat necessities fought for and buy people seeking to be truly free. It is now a celebration of any war but those kinds. And surely it is not about patriotism or the celebration of the right to live by and practice the principals of the world’s most greatest and sacred document: The Constitution of the United States of America. This is because every time young men and women led by mislead adults light a rocket or a firecracker it is all training to prepare him or her to be comfortable and desensitized to the deep booming explosions the smell of gun powder, and the bright fiery lights of bombs being sent up into the sky. Only in war it’s the other way around. Bombs drop and even rain down upon the earth and its inhabitants and destroy everything the creator has blessed us with.
Fireworks.... I know son, they’re exciting and hard to not look at and everyone is having fun buying them and lighting them but for everyone involved how many think or will ever think about the 4th of July in ways that we’re discussing it right now or the way those English revolutionaries died and were persecuted for in the 1700’s in the midst of a war fighting for their independence? Today war can get so twisted and tied up in so many pretty ways, in beautiful wrapping paper and happy celebrations. But please don’t forget its brutality. Let’s not forget son. And please forgive me for laying so much on you at an early age. I know that at this time it may seem that I’m denying you so much fun and maybe even shattering your dreams. But in the end I pray for you to dream of peace, love, happiness, kindness, togetherness, and to live in the spirit of questioning everything like the great thinker and intellect Fredrick Douglass did in 1852 when he wrote, “What to The Slave is your 4th of July?”
* Who makes all of your fireworks? Take a minute to see this....

Frederick Douglass' 4th of July Speech:
“What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
July 5, 1852 Rochester, New York *[See full text] ....Fellow Citizens: Pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called to speak here today? What have I or those I represent to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits, and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?
Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions. Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the "lame man leap like as an hart."
But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of 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 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. 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 today? 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 irrecoverable ruin. I can today take up the lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people.
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yes! 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 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 today rendered more intolerable by the jubilant shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not 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 here, 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 Fourth 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 slave-holder, shall not confess to be right and just.
But I fancy I hear some of my audience say it is just in this circumstance that you and your brother Abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more and denounce less, would you persuade more and rebuke less, your cause would be much more likely to succeed. But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slave-holders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia, which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of these same crimes will subject a white man to like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being?
The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute-books are covered with enactments, forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read and write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then I will argue with you that the slave is a man!
For the present it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are plowing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver, and gold; that while we are reading, writing, and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants, and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators, and teachers; that while we are engaged in all the enterprises common to other men-digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hillside, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives, and children, and above all, confessing and worshiping the Christian God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave-we are called upon to prove that we are men?
Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? That he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to understand? How should I look today in the presence of Americans, dividing and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom, speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively? To do so would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer and insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven who does not know that slavery is wrong for him.
What! Am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the last, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood and stained with pollution is wrong? No; I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.
What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman cannot be divine. Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is past.
At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation's ear, I would today pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be denounced.
What to the American slave is your Fourth of July I answer, a day that reveals to him more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy's thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.
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 every-day practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.
* Occasion: Meeting sponsored by the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society, Rochester Hall, Rochester, N.Y. To illustrate the full shame of slavery, Douglass delivered a speech that took aim at the pieties of the nation -- the cherished memories of its revolution, its principles of liberty, and its moral and religious foundation. The Fourth of July, a day celebrating freedom, was used by Douglass to remind his audience of liberty’s unfinished business.