Wednesday, July 04, 2018

On this Fourth of July (in 2018)

Today is July 4th. As an African American, I have mixed feelings on this day because of the obvious reason. That's self explanatory (as the words from the Declaration of Independence weren't exactly applied to people like me back then). I know of the history of my people in this country. First, it is time to show the meaning of this day. Back in 1776, America was in the midst of the Revolutionary War. After the French and Indian War of the 1760's (which was about the British and French fighting for territories in North America, especially in the fertile Ohio River valley including Canada), the British wanted the colonists to pay for the cost of that war since the war caused huge debts for Britain. The colonists refused to do so since they wanted political representation in the British Parliament. Then, the British enacted repressive measures against the colonists, as a punishment to the 13 colonies, like the Stamp Act, the Intolerable Acts, etc. The colonists formed their First Continental Congress by 1774 to oppose the Intolerable Acts. Also, the colonists accused King George III of using the military in an oppressive fashion, of not having adequate trials by jury, and other egregious acts. So, tensions were high (with Boston being one major location of anti-British sentiment) and the Revolutionary War started on April of 1775 at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. July 4, 1776 (or during the time of the historic Second Continental Congress that lasted from 1775 to 1781) was the time when Americans issued their Declaration of Independence to show their independence from Great Britain. It criticized King George III on many fronts. It declared the historic words of: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." These are powerful, eloquent, and inspirational words. Those words are true as human equality is an accurate truism, but many people who wrote those words (like Thomas Jefferson) owned slaves.

Even the most progressive of these men like Benjamin Franklin once owned slaves and later Franklin became an abolitionist (in rejecting slavery) before he died. Many of the Patriots were influenced by Enlightenment thought and focused their attention (along with getting help from Spain and France) to defeat the British & the Loyalists (who were pro-British Americans). The war lasted from 1775 to 1783 which ended via the Treaty of Paris in a American victory. People eat hot dogs, hamburgers, and other foods on this day. We should recognize the bonds of family and friends on this day. Likewise, tyranny isn't just shown by the British back then (when the British Empire centuries ago used genocide against Native Americans, owned slaves, had imperialism overseas just like many early Americans did. The British Empire and the early American nation treated black people horribly, which is evil). We also see tyranny today with a male in the White House who has children and babies in internment camps, who desires no court system for immigrants, who supports police brutality, who spews racist & sexist invective (from saying that innocent people of the Central Park Five are guilty and saying the lie that a Mexican American judge can't be unbiased because of his Mexican heritage), who is a documented habitual liar, and who endorses a xenophobic, racist form of nationalism. We shouldn't sugarcoat our history as Americans. We know of the evils found in America back in the day and during the present.

Additionally, we ought to celebrate the heroes of America who stood up for liberty and justice like Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, Dr. King, William Lloyd Garrison, Anna Murray Douglass, Lucy Stanton, etc. Many Americans back then and today are standing up for what is right. Their sacrifice and activities ought to be cherished and wholly honored. Therefore, we reject bourgeois policies and embrace progressive, democratic principles of social equality and justice for human beings. On this day, we realize the inviolable purpose of loving freedom along with embracing the great insights including the courage of our ancestors.

Today, there are 2 bad policy proposals from the Trump administration. One is that Trump wants to eliminate the Obama-era policy that allows colleges to use race as one factor in formulating college admissions. This relates to the promotion of affirmative action in universities. I believed in affirmative action in my youth and I will continue to believe it today. The reason is that America is not a meritocracy and discrimination exists worldwide not just in the States. Studies document that affirmative action does a great deal to promote a strong, diverse work environment. Therefore, affirmative action in universities is key in establishing educational diversity. The Supreme Court years ago has already ruled that race can be used as one out of many factors in college admission programs. We want people to have opportunities in their lives involving education and in their jobs. The other bad policy is from the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. She desires to end Obama-era protections for students having student debt from for profit schools. This will cause further exploitation of low income students who desire debt relief. She even desires job requirements for those seeking student debt relief, which is cruel. It is no secret that Betsy DeVos is an extremist. She is disrespectful in her speech about HBCUs. She has an antipathy to the separation of church and state. So, any supporter of Trump should be ashamed of themselves. Trump supporters are wrong to support a male who spews racist words, who used vulgar language to incite hatred, and who is a racist himself. Therefore, we have to fight for truth in a firm determination to make the Dream real for humanity.

She is a multifaceted woman. She is also legendary, spectacular black woman whose work in theater, acting, and social activism has inspired many of this generation. That is why she is worthy of being called one of the greatest actresses of the 21st century. She is Sister Audra McDonald and yesterday was her Birthday. She is 48 years old and she was born in West Berlin, Germany. His father was in the U.S. Army. Fresno, California is the city where she was raised at. She worked with Dan Pessano and Good Company Players involving theater as a young person. She studied in the Julliard School under Ellen Faull to hone in on her skills as an actress. As many individuals know, the Julliard School is a worldwide, prestigious school where actors and actresses flourish. What is also incredible is that she was a three time Tony Award winner by the age of 28 years old with her role in Carousel, Master Class, and Ragtime, placing her alongside Shirley Booth, Gwen Verdon and Zero Mostel by accomplishing this feat within five years. She wanted to show outline a trail that women like her have every right to cover diverse roles in theater including other spheres. She defied racial stereotypes and worked with a wide range of human beings to perform at a magnificent level. She has won a Grammy for an Opera Record award. She had played Billie Holiday before too. She has been on TV shows and movies like the Raisin in the Sun (based on the play from the genius Sister Lorraine Hansberry), Dreamgirls, Private Practice, Sesame Street, etc. In total, Audra McDonald has won six Tony Awards, more performance wins than any other actress and is the only person to win all four acting categories. Excellence is part of her life and we certainly are in awe of what she contributes to society. Her life proves once again that we further bless ourselves and others succinctly with honest self-expression (that invigorates the mind & the soul), humbleness, and stupendous graciousness for those who came before us (as she has praised Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Ruby Dee, Maya Angelou, Diahann Carroll, and other heroic, black women). I wish Sister Audra McDonald more blessings. Yesterday was the Birthday of Sister Crystal Dunn. She is a famous soccer player. She is 26 years old today. New Hyde Park, New York is the city of her birth. She plays for the for National Women's Soccer League club North Carolina Courage and the U.S. Women's National Team. She has made history in numerous arenas. She was a member of the team that won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan, a member of the North Carolina Tar Heels women's soccer team, and was the recipient of 2012 Hermann Trophy. In 2015, she won the NWSL Most Valuable Player and the Golden Boot awards, becoming the youngest player to win both awards, at age 23. She has played for the University of North Carolina when she was in college. Today, she continues to perform excellently in the soccer field. I wish Sister Crystal Dunn more blessings.

 By Timothy

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