I appreciate the hopeful essay by Michelle Quist in the Independence Day edition of The Salt Lake Tribune.

I am more pessimistic.

She optimistically states: “Whether our farcical political atmosphere on our embarrassingly low-brow president or some other weakness is pushing us, I really do believe we’re trying to be better.”

She then, rightly, reminds us of the bitter wisdom of Frederick Douglass in 1852, as he attacks the cultural hypocrisy condoning slavery in our pre-Civil War country that applauds the freedom of privileged, white America.

We progressed in eliminating slavery. But have we really progressed morally?

We incarcerate frightened terrorist evaders and freedom seekers, children, mothers and fathers in squalid prisons and cages. To me this is slavery of a different kind, bondage in another form, depicted by Frederick Douglass.

Bondage also enslaves citizens whose skin is dark or white or in between with no means for education or means for a living wage or means to good medical care. One cause of inequality is cultural stigma — not in God-given talent — another “weakness” that Quist might lament.

This “low-brow president” mustered 45% of voters and a large majority of elected political sycophants in this “conservative” state — a moral deviation, a moral impoverishment, not expected in religious communities, especially those following the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Richard H. Keller, Salt Lake City