“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour. “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 everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”–from abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ speech “The Meaning of the 4th of July to the American Negro.” I’ve always been moved by abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ speech “The Meaning of the 4th of July to the American Negro.” I normally don’t like analogies between slavery and the mistreatment of fathers in family court–they are often made by the lunatic fringe of the movement, and I think they tend to discredit our cause more than to help it. However…..When Douglass speaks of “the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim,” well, he could be talking about any one of the multitudes of decent, loving fathers who have been driven out of the lives of the children who love them. These men must forfeit the most important thing in life–one’s children.When Douglass speaks of “the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim,” well, he could be talking about any one of the multitudes of decent, loving fathers who have been driven out of the lives of the children who love them. These men must forfeit the most important thing in life–one’s children.When Douglass speaks of a “sham” and “unholy license,” one cannot help but be reminded of the sham justice which fathers often receive in family court, and the “unholy license” with which courts intervene into, maintain control over, and sometimes destroy fathers’ personal lives. Douglass’ “empty and heartless” also applies.When Douglass speaks of “the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim,” well, he could be talking about any one of the multitudes of decent, loving fathers who have been driven out of the lives of the children who love them. These men must forfeit the most important thing in life–one’s children.When Douglass speaks of a “sham” and “unholy license,” one cannot help but be reminded of the sham justice which fathers often receive in family court, and the “unholy license” with which courts intervene into, maintain control over, and sometimes destroy fathers’ personal lives. Douglass’ “empty and heartless” also applies.When Douglass speaks of “liberty and equality” being “hollow mockery,” one thinks of our family law system’s ludicrous pretense of gender neutrality.

When Douglass speaks of “the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim,” well, he could be talking about any one of the multitudes of decent, loving fathers who have been driven out of the lives of the children who love them. These men must forfeit the most important thing in life–one’s children.When Douglass speaks of a “sham” and “unholy license,” one cannot help but be reminded of the sham justice which fathers often receive in family court, and the “unholy license” with which courts intervene into, maintain control over, and sometimes destroy fathers’ personal lives. Douglass’ “empty and heartless” also applies.When Douglass speaks of “liberty and equality” being “hollow mockery,” one thinks of our family law system’s ludicrous pretense of gender neutrality.Douglass speaks of “crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.” Well, collaborating in the forcible separation of millions of loving fathers from their children would certainly qualify. “Revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy” also fits.

When Douglass speaks of “the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim,” well, he could be talking about any one of the multitudes of decent, loving fathers who have been driven out of the lives of the children who love them. These men must forfeit the most important thing in life–one’s children.When Douglass speaks of a “sham” and “unholy license,” one cannot help but be reminded of the sham justice which fathers often receive in family court, and the “unholy license” with which courts intervene into, maintain control over, and sometimes destroy fathers’ personal lives. Douglass’ “empty and heartless” also applies.When Douglass speaks of “liberty and equality” being “hollow mockery,” one thinks of our family law system’s ludicrous pretense of gender neutrality.Douglass speaks of “crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.” Well, collaborating in the forcible separation of millions of loving fathers from their children would certainly qualify. “Revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy” also fits.Douglass’ is one of the greatest–if not the greatest–men in American history. I learned much about him as a child because my father was a devotee of his writings, and often told me Douglass’ stories. Douglass’ full July 4 speech can be found here.

For those unfamiliar with the problems fathers face in family court, the injustices described in my column “PBS Declares War on Dads” (World Net Daily & others, 10/20/05) will give you the basics.

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