So yesterday was my running club’s annual 4th of July race, they decided to do it on the weekend, instead of the actual 4th as they traditionally did. We show up early and run the course as a club before, well some of us do. So I went and did that and had a great day catching up with as many friends as I could. Even met some new friends which was totally cool. Then I waited until the Sun was low in the sky before running today, and still struggled because the air quality was horrible. As tough as it is in Italy sometimes, it seems like my lungs burn much worse here.
So I’ve mentioned before I run by the Amistad Memorial when I run past City Hall in New Haven. People have been posting all their ‘Murica posts, and whatnot and as I passed by today it bothered me. I love that there was justice in New Haven on this particular case. But the whole thing should have never happened. I’ve talked about this in pieces before. The founders of this nation wrote a document we celebrate every July 4th and it claimed “all men are created equal”, and yet they owned slaves and claimed that those men weren’t equal. They didn’t treat women equal, and well generally if you weren’t rich and European and a man, you were screwed.
In one breath they’re talking about freedom and equality and on the other hand they codified slavery, the idea that those slaves weren’t people (3/5ths look it up). They weren’t interested in freedom or equality (ok, a very few of them did argue for abolition then but clearly not enough). They weren’t great minds, they weren’t “enlightened”, they were just shitty rich guys screwing over whomever they could. They didn’t want soldiers in their homes, fine. They wanted a say in legislation that effected them, whatever. They turned around and they kept other people as property. They made that part of the law, that you were allowed to keep other humans beings, buy, sell, trade, treat them as property.
All these years later, there’s never been a proper apology and there’s never been recompense to the descendants of those unjustly held. They were promised a payment, and it was never made. Then we have so many people running around saying that the descendants of slaves; who never had any inheritance, had their history, culture, and identities ripped from them, their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents had their husbands, wives, children ripped from them and sold off or worse, are somehow to blame for not having these things. After being “set free” they were still treated as less than. Driven away from the voting booths, denied education, basic services, jobs, any sense of equal treatment. Their lives were forfeit at the drop of a hat, just because of an accusation. Still to this day, when police and even citizens murder them in cold blood they merely have to say they “felt threatened” and they are let go.
At no point has this nation dealt with this. At no point, even after a war over slavery, have we ever rectified this situation. We continue on, and people that have benefited directly or indirectly from this system continue to profit and those who have been victimized continue to be victimized, and if you talk about it you’re “divisive”. No, I’m not. I’m trying to bring about real unity. Unity isn’t achieved through everyone ignoring the past and blaming the poor for being poor, and blaming the victims for being victims, and claiming “the past is the past”. Unity is found through accepting the damage that has been done and putting an end to injustice. Truly putting an end to it. That won’t happen until we literally destroy the system which created the past. If you keep the system, there will always be inequity, and the many will always force the few to suffer. They will justify it however they want, and that is true across the board.
So I’m not too much into celebrating, never really have been. It needs to end, it is evident with the idiot we have posing as a head of state right now. His video tweet this morning was another completely indecent display of jackassery. But it is a glimpse into the buffoonery which has weaved it way through the history of this country, and much of the world. This is what we have sewn. We should have thousands of statues and memorials around the country to all the slave revolts, all labor strikes, all the times the real people, the exploited, the hunted, the disenfranchised tried valiantly to fight back, to gain ground. We don’t, there are controversies over removing statues and monuments to the people who fought to oppress! We elect the people who want so badly to uphold the injustice to office, and cheer their speeches full of hate and bigotry.
So no, I’m not celebrating, sure I’ll go see my family and I’ll celebrate them. But this shit needs to change, and yesterday.
Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!
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