Juneteenth: The Latest Effort to Balkanize the U.S.

Thanks to Joe Biden, a unanimous U.S. Senate, and 415-14 vote in the House, we have a new federal holiday: Juneteenth. The holiday celebrates the day that the Union forces arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that the town’s slaves were free pursuant to the Emancipation Proclamation. Various groups on the Right are urging Americans to embrace the new holiday. For example: Kay C. James at the Heritage Foundation, Zuri Davis at Reason, and Dan McLaughlin at National Review. What could be wrong with celebrating freedom for those who were in bondage? Absolutely nothing. But celebrating the freedom of individuals to chart their own course and to enjoy equal rights under a color-blind Constitution is alien to the new holiday. Juneteenth became a holiday to focus Americans on so-called “systematic racism” and to use past injustices to encourage a progressive agenda. James, Davis, and McLaughlin are merely useful idiots for Leftists. They ignore the real purposes behind the holiday to our detriment.

In his remarks upon signing the bill making Juneteenth a national holiday Joe Biden described it as “A day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take—what I’ve long called ‘America’s original sin.’ (emphasis added) By categorizing the alleged vestiges of slavery as the root cause of continuing problems, Biden offers a national holiday to support his Big Government agenda. The President continues:

Folks, the promise of equality is not going to be fulfilled until we become real—it becomes real in our schools and on our Main Streets and in our neighborhoods—our healthcare system and ensuring that equity is at the heart of our fight against the pandemic; in the water that comes out of our faucets and the air that we breathe in our communities; in our justice system—so that we can fulfill the promise of America for all people. All of our people.

And it’s not going to be fulfilled so long as the sacred right to vote remains under attack. (Applause.)

We see this assault from restrictive laws, threats of intimidation, voter purges, and more—an assault that offends the very democracy—our very democracy.

We can’t rest until the promise of equality is fulfilled for every one of us in every corner of this nation. That, to me, is the meaning of Juneteenth. That’s what it’s about.

Yes, Juneteenth is a reminder of how we need the federal government to be more involved in public schools. As for involvement, you can bet that Sleepy Joe is not championing school vouchers or charter schools. Regarding “equity” in fighting the pandemic, undoubtedly the President is praising state initiatives where the vaccine was distributed based on race with some whites denied shots because of the color of their skin. With the justice system, Biden sees the real problem as “racial, gender, and income-based disparities in the system”–not free agents making their own choices to break the law or follow it. But the real kicker is the lie that Jim Crow is back in the form of recent state election laws. Biden and other Leftists claim that, for example, laws requiring voters seeking an absentee ballot provide a driver’s license or state ID number is Jim Crow 2.0. Ludicrous. But for Biden, these silly liberal canards, in his own words, “[are] the meaning of Juneteenth. That’s what it’s about.”

But it is not just Biden. Chris Coons, who represents Delaware in the Senate, says Americans should honor Juneteenth by “finally taking on systematic racism.” Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib links support of Juneteenth with the Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act so we can go “beyond commemoration and take action that will truly address the continuous, systemic impacts of slavery.” The Campaign for Youth Justice avers that Juneteenth is “A Day to Reflect on the Resilience of Black Americans in the Face of Ongoing Systemic Racism In Our Criminal Justice System.” “Systematic racism,” of course, is a tool liberals use to keep society stirred up when they are unable to point to acts of actual racism. Neat trick.

Macy Gray, the Grammy Award-winning singer, advocates that in honor of Juneteenth we need to scrap the Stars and Stripes and come up with a new national flag. “Like the Confederate, it is tattered, dated, divisive, and incorrect. It no longer represents democracy and freedom. It no longer represents ALL of us. It’s not fair to be forced to honor it. It’s time for a new flag.”

In sum, Juneteenth as a national holiday is not about liberty or true equality before the law. It is a vehicle to persuade people that the United States is rotten to the core because slavery once existed here and to use guilt to advance a Big Government agenda that will inhibit rather than encourage freedom. Juneteenth is not meant to bring us together, but to further divide us. I, for one, will pass on celebrating our newest national holiday.

William J. Watkins, Jr. is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the Independent books, Crossroads for Liberty, Reclaiming the American Revolution, and Patent Trolls.
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