June 16, 2021

The Politics of Making Juneteenth a Federal Holiday

It’s a day that ought to be unifying, but that many on the Left would rather use to divide.

Juneteenth will be a federal holiday commemorating how Republicans liberated slaves held by Democrats.

As chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, our friend Allen West, observed, “Today, the Democrats are economically enslaving Blacks and have turned inner city communities into modern plantations of welfare and economic dependence. Juneteenth is a celebration of why the Republican Party was established in 1854, the abolition of slavery. Only a flaming incompetent idiot would give the party of the jackass any credit for Juneteenth.”

Indeed, Democrats have turned Martin Luther King’s dream into a nightmare for tens of millions of Black men, women, and children.

That is the irrevocable history of the Democrat record, but now a bill to ensure national recognition for Juneteenth just unanimously passed the Democrat-controlled Senate and is on its way to passage in the Democrat-controlled House and then will get Democrat Joe Biden’s signature.

So why are Democrats so intent on memorializing an extraordinary Republican accomplishment? Many reasons, but deceitful pandering is chief among them.

Now, don’t get us wrong — Juneteenth is absolutely worth celebrating. It marks the freeing of the last slaves in America on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, and it was the real-world end of an evil institution in this country. Some 47 states, including Texas, already observe it as a holiday. It ought to be a unifying occasion for Americans of every race.

“Happy that my bill to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday just passed the Senate,” said Texas Senator John Cornyn, the Republican author of the bill. “It has been a state holiday in Texas for more than 40 years. Now more than ever, we need to learn from our history and continue to form a more perfect union.”

Then-Senator Kamala Harris coauthored the legislation with Cornyn last year. It now has 60 Senate cosponsors, including 18 Republicans. Texas Democrat Representative Sheila Jackson Lee introduced companion bipartisan legislation in the House.

The unfortunate thing about a unifying thing like this is the divisive politics. Democrats have spent the last several decades falsely insisting that the parties “switched” sides, especially on the issue of race. The entire reason for this phony narrative is that Democrats see political advantage not in debating ideas but in casting their opponents as racists.

That’s a game these hypocrites ought not to play, given that the Democrat Party is the party of slavery, segregation, the KKK, and the modern welfare state, while the Republican Party was founded in large part to advance abolition and is the party of individual Liberty.

Reinforcing the narrative is why Joe Biden went to Tulsa two weeks ago and railed about how America has made virtually no progress on race since the Tulsa massacre 100 years ago. It’s almost as if Biden has a “race-bait calendar” and every notable date will be highlighted in order keep his “right-wing extremists” conspiracy threat alive and well.

This narrative is why Attorney General Merrick Garland claimed this week that “the top domestic violent extremist threat” we face today comes from “those who advocated for the superiority of the white race.” It’s why the U.S. military under Biden’s man Lloyd Austin is preoccupied with fighting the phantom menace of “white supremacist extremism” in its own ranks through the advancement of Critical Race Theory training. That won’t solve a problem that isn’t there, though it will torpedo morale and readiness.

And it’s why Democrats are busy pushing “equity” in everything they do, including pushing racist indoctrination in schools and working to revamp the entire American election system through HR 1 and HR 4.

Who knows — Democrats might even trot out their slave-trader garb to mark Juneteenth.

Americans could move beyond the racial divide if Democrats would let us. Nevertheless, if we do say so ourselves, something we said last year still resonates: We’re not naive enough to think that the better angels of our nature are always going to prevail, especially when there’s political gain in fomenting division. But what if all Americans of every race could celebrate Liberty together? If that’s the real aspiration for Juneteenth, it’ll be a day worth commemorating.

Update 6/17: On Wednesday afternoon, the House voted 415 to 14 to approve making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Update 6/18: Biden didn’t even wait for the day itself, signing the bill on Thursday. As National Review reports, “Juneteenth National Independence Day is the 11th annual federal holiday and the first one to be established since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.”

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