I wrote this to fulfill the requirement of my application essay. Had never heard of this Justice or this speech but I must say, it did get my Medulla Oblongota racing. Give a listen/read…
Judge Learned Hand dispenses broad generalizations and takes liberties with labeling America’s people as adopted. I wonder if he was inspired by fellow officer of the court Francis Scott Key when he decided to address a crowd with such prophetic yet exclusionary words. He remarks that “some of us have chosen America as the land of our adoption.” He made these remarks in 1944, years before anything remotely resembling Liberty would come the way of the Negro, Colored, Black, Afro-American, African American or whatever label the Spirit of America decides to cast upon.
Chosen implies that the participating party was given an option, multiple choice selections of where they wanted to spend their days. How egregiously presumptuous of him to think that people who were forced into hard manual labor, held against their will and deprived of their right to leave as well as those soon to be precious “unalienable rights” would somehow “adopt” the very land where the Spirit of Liberty has never nor will ever exist. From slavery to reconstruction to Jim Crow to Civil Rights, we have witnessed the Spirit of Liberty at various levels by those who profess to uphold constitutions and laws, administering it all in the courts. The Negro, Colored, Black, Afro-American, African American has witnessed this very Spirit of Liberty in “a society in which men recognized no check upon their freedom… and freedom is the possession of only a savage few.” I’m quite certain that on that proud “I AM an American Day” amongst the thousands of people who gathered in that park, there were those who felt excluded, abandoned, deprived and emasculated by the very adoptive/foster parents and siblings before them. Where was Liberty and how deep was it buried in their hearts to allow such hate, vile and discontent to be tolerated? How laughable it is that while he may have been considered a defender of civil liberties that he could so callously think to group people into two categories; Some and Rest. “Some of us have chosen America… the Rest have come from those of use who did the same.” America is a melting pot and Most of those here are so by choice to exercise their God fearing belief, escape religious persecution or seeking a better way of life. Some have come from those who did the same. The Rest, well that’s debatable because who back then, considered the Rest?
I disagree with his notion that we should not “rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws, and upon courts” because the foundation upon which those things are built lies deep within men and women. Men and women who are fallible, opinionated and biased; believing in nothing and something. Men and women who toil away day after day to make sure that some, most, all of America’s adopted and foster children feel the same Spirit of Liberty as her birth (read… indigenous) children. But then again, her birth children would disagree, but as the old saying goes, there’s nothing like family. To say that “Liberty lies within the heart” alludes to the notion that it is a divine right, innately bestowed by the Creator. If that is true, then the question begs to be asked; if Christ died for our sins, to give us in fact, Liberty. Judging by today’s society, was it Fairness and Justice that hung beside him?