Much of the world seems to be celebrating Valentines Day today. Regular readers of this blog will know that I usually celebrate the anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre aka the Mob war in Chicago. I have also been known to wear all black and express my affection to my Spirit Animal, St. Grumpy Cat.
Today I’ve chosen a different tack.
Today I choose to honor the memory of Frederick Douglass.
I’m celebrating Frederick Douglass because he spoke out for the downtrodden. He was the voice of the voiceless and he, at immense personal risk, fought for the rights of the slaves in America to be free and whole people. I dare say that, were he here today, he’d be marching in Ferguson and NYC and helping with the marriage celebrations for LGBTQ folks in Alabama.
Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.
In a day and age in this America when African-Americans are still being lynched in Mississippi and when the KKK is calling for boots on the ground in Alabama to fight against the right for everyone to marry the person they love, regardless of gender, I think it more important than ever to remember the legacy of someone like Frederick Douglass, born on this Hallmark day of spurious origin.
I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.
Rather than donning all black this year or going out to dinner, I’ll be home in my pajamas dining on blizzard supplies, reading the news, preparing for more snow, and laughing at St. Grumpy Cat.
And, of course, a meme.
And so, Happy Birthday to Frederick Douglass. Good luck in the snow to all of us who have to deal with the impending storm. And to all of us, stay woke. We are not so far removed from history and what Frederick Douglass said stands just as true then as it does today. We still live in a society of fundamental inequality and injustice. Don’t let a day of overpriced candy, flowers and extreme social pressure make you forget that.