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Born a slave, Frederick Douglass saw firsthand the seamy side of 19th Century America. He was also a towering intellect. He had to be to rise from the ashes of oppression to see the world as it actually is--both awful and compassionate.

Douglass wrote:

    "If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to love freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want ocean without the awful roar of its mighty waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both moral and physical. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them. And these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are proscribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."

Douglass saw clearly what could happen in the future because his view of his present was unclouded by the usual hang-ups otherwise known as bigotry, racism and sexism most people of his time carried around as a normal matter of social right and discourse.

While progress was made in North America, it was never complete. The pendulums of history keep swinging to and fro. How else could Douglass' wisdom be as true today as it was in his time. In his day the main issue was color. Now color does not matter much; the size of our wallet does.

Of course America will never return to slavery, those who swagger will remind us from the political stump ad nauseam. They are the consummate Authoritarians and being of the same mold, they know us well as the sociopaths among them also do. They know we will march along, docile in our unthinking obedience to authority.

Why else would they stir up a war with Iran after the debacle of Iraq?


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