“Give me liberty, or give me death!”
The American revolutionary Patrick Henry who voiced this opinion in 1775 was the biggest slaveholder in the New World. He wanted freedom and liberty for himself but not for the slaves who made him his fortune, gave him leisure and a secure future. In contrast to liberty, he gave his slaves lives of servitude, obedience and limits. As such, the ruling class of America learned a new way to preach liberty while continuing to dominate and coerce.
Slavery was long ago abolished but in modern America, a new version of Patrick Henry’s duplicitous theory of democratic rights is emerging. But in modern times, the paradoxically stunted democratic theory being peddled is not race-based, but instead is based on wealth.
Transnational corporations continue to push trickle down economics like Trump’s tax cut while also busting up unions and drawing trade deals that force workers to compete with slave labor in dictatorships across the globe. At the same time, a wave of voter suppression has been backed by corporate lobbyists that themselves were unleashed by the bought and paid for Supreme Court.
The vast bulk of our citizens have become servants to busy working for manipulated wages to worry about having been left out the common gains of economic growth. Life expectancy is going down for most Americans and, as we head towards our next Republican Recession, we remain tied down to a system that no longer functions for the rank and file. We are closing in on the nightmare where the privileged live in excess inside of gated communities while the dregs of the earth live in ever-increasing misery outside the walls. Like in the favelas of Brazil and the dickensian-era overcrowded slums of London, the poor will be crushed.
In one of California’s recent wildfires, Americans were shocked to learn that cream communities like Beverly Hills pay for specialized, private firefighters serving only the rich. Patrick Henry was far too comfortable ignoring the rights of his slaves while fighting his own battle for liberty. Today, the rich are far too comfortable ignoring us.