Shakeel Syed wrote this Op-Ed about Independence Day, the path this nation has been down since our independence, and how independence from the British centuries ago has not meant independence for all.
We know that the lonely Native American female warrior as the statue of freedom atop the Capitol Dome was cast in bronze by a foundry that used enslaved labor. No different is lady “liberty” (in New York), which was also erected by the enslaved.
And, the White House could not be standing shining all these years if not for the sweat of the enslaved blacks.
Without forgetting this sordid past, let’s fast forward.
The claims of the more recent Presidents occupying the White House ranged from: “Government is not the solution to our problem, Government is the problem,” (Ronald Reagan) to “Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference,” (Barrack Hussein Obama) to the most recent one by the orange hair monster “Make America Great Again.” In these words, there’s very little of greatness and a whole lot of pettiness. Here is why.
Our petty Presidents and politicians of all persuasions continue tounashamedly plot policies that set back the lives of 99% Americans and advance the lives of the 1%.
Our petty Presidents and the Congress always find ways to give more to thewrongly named “Defense Department’s” budget of $800+ billion, while neither are ashamed to trim down the resources to education, healthcareand other social services.
Today’s Supreme Court is like the Torquemada of American law. Tomas de Torquemada, the 15thcentury Dominican friar who became the grand inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition, who was largely responsible for torturing and the burning of heretics. The modern Tomas de Torquemadais yet to be found with bloody instruments in their hands, but they are the owners of their blood stained pens banishing women of their rights to their bodies.
While the “free” America continues to insist for a safer world for herself, at any cost, it fails to protect her very own. Every day, armed men and women wearing blue uniforms kill unarmed black and brown men and women.
The most dramatic wealth gap is between middling millionaires, who have seen only “modest” gains, and the booming billionaires, who now seem to defy economic gravity.
We claim our nation to be the richest, but it is more debt-ridden and even more debt-dependent than ever before. This indebtedness is what Thomas Jefferson feared the most when he said, “I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared.”
While celebrating this Independence Day let us not forget the immeasurable human pain and poverty that continues to exist amidst us, and let us continue to fight for the oppressed and against the oppressors, in it we shall find our true collective independence and not by waving the cheap Chinese made American flags!
Shakeel Syed is the Executive Director of South Asian Network.