I have no issue with Juneteenth, Save Jerseyans. It’s good history. Our country’s dedication to, and capacity for, building a more perfect union is inspiring. More on that in a minute.
Calling it Juneteenth “National Independence Day” is extremely unfortunate, but that’s exactly what Joe Biden did when he signed legislation making “Juneteenth National Independence Day” a federal holiday.
We need to understand WHY the Left is electing to call Juneteenth something which black Americans traditionally did not. They called it Juneteenth (duh), Emancipation Day, or one of a few other variations. Independence Day was nevertheless independence day (as it was for all Americans), and Juneteenth was its own thing.
To use a favorite Leftist term? This is classic cultural appropriation, and you can blame enter Critical Race Theory, the new religion of paternalistic white liberals. In their view, Independence Day – the day we celebrate the promulgation of the Declaration of Independence for those of you who learned history from the NJEA – was really a white holiday. Since the new American experiment began with slavery still in place, they reason, the founding of this country is fundamentally racist.
There are a few problems with this simplistic interpretation of U.S. history.
First, if full legal equality for all Americans is your chronological benchmark for when Americans are allowed to celebrate America, then we should make the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act a new federal holiday. Juneteenth was a major step forward for black Americans, no dobut, but it would be another near-century before discriminatory laws in Southern states were buried where they belong: in the ash heap of history. Women didn’t receive the right to vote until the 20th century! And Jim Crow laws hindered black participation in elections for decades beyond the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
A little consistency would be nice, right?
Second, we already have an Independence Day as much as the Left’s warped logic would have you believe fireworks, parades, brass bands and American flag-themed attire aren’t worth the fuss.
The Critical Race Theory crowd is, unsurprisingly, 100% wrong: the ’76 Declaration is the foundation of everything! The spirit of that document – which soon after inspired the framework of the U.S. Constitution – provided our country with a roadmap to become “a more perfect union.”
Let’s not pretend that there wasn’t a time when some residents of North America would’ve had a justifiable gripe with Independence Day. In 1852, addressing the subject of July 4th, Frederick Douglass famously and justifiably complained that there was “a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us.”
Hundreds of thousands of white Americans subsequently paid with their blood to close that “immeasurable distance.” They fought, and died, to make July 4th a holiday for ALL Americans. A “glorious anniversary” for all men.
So by all means, Save Jerseyans, celebrate Juneteenth. The ratification of the 19th Amendment. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Each milestone is evidence that our country is NOT fundamentally racist. Imperfect? Yes. Room to grow? Always. But contrary to what Joe Biden’s party wants you to believe, the spirit and principles espoused on the original independence day made everything else good that followed possible. Thank God for it. I do!
Rebranding Juneteenth as a second or even co-equal Independence Day celebration is a divisive move and, ultimately, just plain bad history.