Forum, July 28: 1852 speech is still relevant

Published: 8/2/2022 2:59:24 PM
Modified: 8/2/2022 2:56:16 PM
An 1852 speech is still relevant today

I was pleased that the Valley News’ lead story in the July 5 edition (“The meaning of patriotism: Frederick Douglass’ words ring 170 years on,” July 5) featured the public reading on July 4 in Lebanon’s Colburn Park of Frederick Douglass’ famous 1852 speech on ‘What the Fourth of July Means to the Negro’ (one of several such commemorations held in the Upper Valley), rather than the customary focus on various parades and celebrations. The speech, still inspiring and moving after 170 years, provided the basis in the article for a thoughtful discussion on the nature of patriotism.

In leveling powerful accusations of hypocrisy and inhumanity at the continuing practice of slavery in the U.S. Douglass drew particular attention in his speech to the notorious 1850 Dred Scott decision that cruelly permitted and encouraged the pursuit of escaped slaves anywhere in the U.S., only reversed by the Civil War and subsequent constitutional amendments. His speech holds special relevance in the present moment, as the U.S. deals with the consequences of women’s long-established right to make decisions about their health and pregnancy being abruptly overturned by a right-wing Supreme Court, with some states adopting Draconian laws punishing anyone involved in arranging or carrying out an abortion and even contemplating restricting travel by women seeking this procedure in another state.

I would also note that the modest group of a hundred or so participants at the reading in Colburn Park, moved to sombre reflection by the terrible abuses of slavery cited by Douglass, would shortly learn the dismaying news of the latest mass shooting of innocent people that occurred within the hour at a July 4th parade in Highland Park, Illinois, spurring yet more national mourning and offering a bitter counterpoint to the recent disastrous Supreme Court ruling further loosening sensible regulation of lethal firearms that already cause more than 30,000 deaths annually in the U.S.

Jerry Roth


Recollections about Russia

Recently, Olena Zelenska, the wife of the President of Ukraine, spoke to bi-partisan members of Congress about Russia destroying Ukraine.

It fell on deaf ears in both houses, as it has on the USELESS United Nations.

I know that liberals, and progressive Democrats were very concerned about the Vietnam War and probably knew this song by heart. It was a big hit in 1970. It was written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield and sung by Edwin Starr. Lyrics: “WAR, what is it good for, absolutely nothing. I’ll say it again!”

Apparently everyone in the Upper Valley, and in the White House — and in both parties — believe it is OK to let the demented ruler of the Russian Federation do whatever he wants. It was Obama in 2010 who let Hillary Clinton sell a huge amount of uranium to Russia, via a Canadian company, and it was the Clinton Foundation who pocketed $145 million for her part in the deal! Remember who was vice president at the time?

In 2014 it was Obama who gave Putin the Crimea. Remember who was vice president at the time?

Now we are reaping what Biden has sown. With the tacit forgetfulness of liberal, progressive Democrats and do-nothing Republicans.

Marcella Logue


Molly Gray has
the required experience

There’s almost no difference between the two leading Democratic candidates for Congress on domestic policy issues — child care, a strong workforce, affordable housing, reproductive rights, freedom to marry, and much more. But there’s a world of difference in their background and experience in dealing with issues that affect the security of all Americans.

Molly Gray has worked for the International Red Cross to protect human rights, so she understands the legal, political and practical consequences of the horrors of war in Ukraine. She also understands the importance of Congress’s role in national security. Molly is committed to strengthening NATO, reducing the risk of nuclear war, and promoting a two-state solution in Israel and the West Bank.

Molly also understands the threat posed by climate change to peace and security — as well as to our health and prosperity. She is determined to cut off government subsidies to the fossil fuel industries and to promote increased reliance on alternate energy sources.

Molly Gray alone has the legal training and experience working on Capitol Hill that are needed to work across the aisle to make progress on these critical national security issues. I hope you will join me in voting for her in the primary now underway.

Stephen Dycus


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