At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.
The irony, of course, is that Douglass was an escaped slave, speaking to a crowd (the Rochester, New York Anti-Slavery Sewing Society!) who might have been ostensibly celebrating the young nation’s Independence Day–a gigantic party premised on FREEDOM. Patriotic types to this day festoon themselves in the colors of the flag and make a lot of noise on the 4th of July. Soreheads like me who insist on remembering history are told to appreciate the glorious freedoms our forefathers gifted us. Okay, then. Thanks for that, foredads.
Giving Mr. Douglass the last word:
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.