To the Editor:
The former slave and abolitionist, Frederick Douglas, wrote a universal message for humankind that resonates today as the world is being torn asunder by COVID-19, climate change, militarism and predatory elites. In Douglas’s words: “A smile or a tear has no nationality; joy and sorrow speak alike to all nations, and they, above all the confusion of tongues proclaim the brotherhood of man."
In today’s world these noble sentiments are not honored. Rather, the world’s nation states are divided and are in a downward spiral of economic and political chaos. There exists a global climate of fear and distrust that allows governing elites to maintain their power and wealth.
Endemic in Frederick Douglas’s message is a recognition that the world’s inhabitants are one and inhabit a fragile ecosystem. We must cooperate to preserve a sense of connectedness, a sense of tolerance for other cultures and empathy for their struggles.
The present administration trumpets a disparaging nationalism that denigrates people from other countries and proclaims American exceptionalism. At a time when international crises calls for a universal recognition of the “brotherhood of man,” Trump and his minions sow the seeds of hate, fear and dissension. This is a dangerous negation of our “common humanity.”