On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a keynote address at an Independence Day celebration and asked, “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” It was a scathing speech in which Douglass said, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice. I must mourn.” What do those words mean 167 years later?
Yesterday was July 4th. The anniversary of the start of the American Revolution. Since its founding, there have been many mythologies created about the United States. The race for the presidency is going strong, and many of the candidates are talking about American Exceptionalism. Most Americans, though, don’t understand the term, and they don’t understand how dangerous American Exceptionalism actually is. American Exceptionalism is the belief that the US follows a path of history different from the laws or norms that govern other countries. It’s the belief that the US is not just a bigger and more powerful country, but an exception. It’s the bearer of freedom and liberty and it’s morally superior to all other countries. Dr. Peter Kuznik, a professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, the co-author with Oliver Stone of the book and the hit Showtime television series “The Untold History of the United States,” joins the show.
All across the country politicians, corporations and top Pentagon brass use the July 4 holiday to present themselves as the ultimate patriots and supporters of US service members. But what does this country really do to its soldiers, both abroad and when they return home? And what effect does it have on the world? Brian and John speak with Ryan Endicott, a veteran and mental health counselor working in a clinic that serves low income and Medicaid clients, who writes the weekly series “Taking My Boots Off: A Weekly Story About War, Coming Home, and Healing from Combat Trauma.”
Thursday’s weekly series “Criminal Injustice” is about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News (PLN), and Kevin Gosztola, a writer for Shadowproof.com and co-host of the podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, join the show.
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