Friday, June 12, 2020

Celebrating Juneteenth

June 19 is a day that black Americans take note of and, in some cases, celebrate every year. It marks the anniversary of the day in 1865 that the Emancipation Proclamation was read to the slaves of Texas. Although slavery had been officially outlawed on New Year's Day two and a half years before and that the Civil War had ended in April, it took a bit of time for the good news to travel that far west. Ironically, on the day these poor people realized that they were finally free of the lash, the emancipation's author, Abraham Lincoln, had been dead since April 16. Every year on June 19 (Juneteenth) African Americans bow their heads. I think the rest of us should join them. I think June 19 should be made into a national holiday.

You say we have too many holidays as it is? I suppose a reasonable argument could be made for that assertion. Perhaps we could give Columbus Day the old heave ho. It's not generally known, but our modern perception of the story of Christopher Columbus is based on a nineteenth century novel. The fact of the matter is that he and his crew slaughtered tens of thousands of native people upon arriving on the shores of this hemisphere (the exact number will never be known). A few of them were kidnapped and carried back to Europe to be exhibited as living specimens. No, old Chris Columbus might have been a able explorer but he was not a good man. Another thing to remember is that he never once set foot on what is today known as "the continental United States". 

Few of us mention Christopher Columbus on Columbus Day anymore. Fewer, still even think about him. Why are we even setting a day aside for this guy's memory? If you're of Italian descent and you want  celebrate every October the twelfth, do it as we Irish celebrate St. Patrick's Day, which is not a legal holiday either - although it should be! Sorry, but being of Irish descent, I just had to say that.

And Election Day should be a national holiday as well. Again, this could be achieved with no problem whatsoever given the fact that both days are so close to each other on the calendar. All we need to do is combine it with Veterans Day! People need to vote, but too many of them don't bother because they need to work. Make it a legal holiday and the voter apathy that this country is noted for will diminish to a great degree. And if you think about it, Election and Veterans Days are the perfect combination. We vote because we're free. We're free because of people who gave their lives in battle for this country - at least that is what they want us to believe; it's a tad more complicated than that. Combining those two days into one merry holiday would solve many problems. It would also give people a dandy excuse to have barbeques and get really intoxicated. Hooray!

In these days of serious reflection on our historical heritage, we need to reorganize our national priorities. All of us need to celebrate the day that "legal" slavery ended in America forever. It still exists in the form of Private Prisons for Profit, but that's another story for another day, boys and girls.

Juneteenth is exactly one week away. Have a happy one!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


If Donald Trump has to sacrifice the lives of tens of thousands of Americans to get reelected he's going to sacrifice them. He's holding a rally next week in Tulsa Oklahoma during a pandemic. He is demanding no social distancing - and  facemasks are optional. He must realize that his core constituency, his "base", are stupid enough to show up at these things by the thousands. Come the autumn, when there is a massive second wave of disease and death, he'll use the catastrophe as an excuse to try to cancel the November election.

Am I paranoid? Perhaps. Perhaps not. On that cheerful note....


At 6:08 PM, Blogger Jude said...

King Ferdinand, who sent Columbus to find the New World, also decreed in 1492 that all Jews living in the Spanish Empire convert to Christianity, or leave. Many were firced to confess that they were heretics and were burned at the stake. Ferdinand wasn't such a nice guy either.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Just the Facts! said...

Don't let Trump cheat! Don't let Trump steal the election.

Demand voter ID now!


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