This Fourth of July season, we’re thinking about freedom.

Our country hasn’t always lived up to its ideals. But our country was founded on dissent, and throughout our history dissenting movements have been key to advancing the freedoms we proclaim but so often fail to extend. But now, a new authoritarian effort is underway to erase that history, ban the books that teach it, and marginalize the communities who’ve driven it.

This week in OtherWords, Svante Myrick says that’s offensive — and un-American. Don’t miss his rousing Fourth of July defense of free speech, history, and inclusion.

In another timely piece, Phyllis Bennis compares the global responses to two recent shipwreck tragedies — the Titan submersible carrying a handful of billionaires vs. the Adriana ship carrying hundreds of refugees. And as Canadian wildfire smoke again clouds North American skies (and lungs), Alliyah Lusuegro explains how the military budget fits into this unfolding climate chaos.

Finally, on a brighter note, Jim Hightower memorializes the late Roger Payne, whose recordings of whale songs changed the world for the better.

New This Week…

This Fourth of July, Fight Back Against Attacks on Our Freedom | Svante Myrick
Extreme, pro-censorship authoritarians are ringing in July 4 by calling for book bans. That’s un-American and wrong.

A Tale of Two Tragedies at Sea | Phyllis Bennis
Why should lost billionaires get an international rescue effort while hundreds of refugees are left to die at sea?

Clear the Air, Cut Military Spending | Alliyah Lusuegro
Most of us understand the need to cut carbon emissions. But a huge share of our tax dollars are funding the most carbon-intensive institution on the planet.

The Most Influential Musician You Never Heard Of | Jim Hightower
The late scientist Roger Payne captured the sounds of humpback whales and ignited an unlikely global phenomenon.

Cartoon: Another Ancient Shipwreck | Khalil Bendib
Some ruins are best left alone.

In Case You Missed It…

The Boldest Step To Close the Racial Wealth Divide in Generations | Dedrick Asante-Muhammad
One state’s “Baby Bonds” program should be a model for the whole country.

How Contractor CEOs Get Rich Off Taxpayers | Sam Pizzigati
Enormous Pentagon budgets are also inflating CEO pay at major military contractors. Here’s how to rein in this taxpayer-funded excess.

Extremism Is Bad for Business | David Pepper
As Disney learned, supporting statehouse extremists will come back to haunt you. Consumers must teach more businesses that lesson — and fast.

CEOs Get to Retire Comfortably. Workers Like Me Deserve the Same. | Cynthia Murray
Our tax laws shouldn’t protect giant CEO retirement accounts when my coworkers and I can’t afford to save at all.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the communications director of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of

OtherWords commentaries are free to re-publish in print and online — all it takes is a simple attribution to To get a roundup of our work each Wednesday, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.

(Note: Images credited to Getty or Shutterstock are not covered by our Creative Commons license. Please license these separately if you wish to use them.)