While most Americans support the idea of making Juneteenth a federal holiday, there are some on the right who oppose the idea. Indeed, while the bill was passed unanimously in the Senate, 14 Republican House members voted against it. Some made their reasons for doing so known.
While some of the arguments were somewhat understandable, they did not justify voting against the measure. However, the comments of others who opposed the bill show a remarkable lack of knowledge about history that could be easily rectified by simply picking up a book or running a quick Google search.
For starters, Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) stated that he voted against the bill because it is supposedly a leftist plot to replace the Fourth of July. “This legislation is the culmination of decades of efforts by the Left to prevent unashamed celebrations of our national story, heritage, and history,” he wrote.
I voted against a bill that would make Juneteenth National Independence Day a federal holiday. One of 14 Republicans to do so.
This legislation is the culmination of decades of efforts by the Left to prevent unashamed celebrations of our national story, heritage, and history.
— Matt Rosendale (@RepRosendale) June 16, 2021
In a subsequent tweet, he insisted: “Their intent is to replace the Fourth of July with this new day, one that will inevitably focus on America’s darkest moments.”
Their intent is to replace the Fourth of July with this new day, one that will inevitably focus on America's darkest moments.
— Matt Rosendale (@RepRosendale) June 16, 2021
However, a five-minute search on the internet would reveal that Rosendale doesn’t know his history. Juneteenth is the celebration of the 250,000 slaves in Texas finally being freed after the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation which occurred two years earlier. To put it simply, this holiday is a celebration of America doing something positive.
Commemorating this event has nothing to do with a plot to replace the Fourth of July nor is there even any indication that this is what the plan is. Rosendale provided no evidence to back up his claim, which makes perfect sense because he doesn’t have any.
Next, we have Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) who also voted against the bill. On Wednesday, he explained the reasons for his vote. “I fully support creating a day to celebrate the abolition of slavery, a dark portion of our nation’s history,” he said. “However, naming this day ‘National Independence Day’ will create confusion and push Americans to pick one of those two days as their independence day based on their racial identity.”
While it may have made sense to give the holiday a different name, the notion that people would get it mixed up with the Fourth of July is absurd. Nobody’s going to be singing the Star-Spangled Banner and lighting fireworks on June 19 because they couldn’t figure out which Independence Day it is.
Rep. Paul Gosar also opposed the bill. He released a statement in which he argued, like Rosendale, that a Juneteenth holiday is part of some magic Marxist effort to divide the country. Even more laughable, he pretended that the holiday, which has been celebrated for almost 150 years, is part of Critical Race Theory.
Our country is divided, and the cultural and political Marxists are continuing their relentless efforts to divide this country further.
Juneteenth is more debunked Critical Race Theory in action. I reject racism. I reject the racial division people are promoting. I voted no because this proposed holiday does not bring us together, it tears us apart.
I cannot support efforts that furthers racial divisions in this country. We have one Independence Day, and it applies equally to all people of all races.
Yes, Gosar is right when he says the “cultural and political Marxists” are trying to divide the nation. It’s been part of their playbook for decades. But this does not mean that celebrating the freeing of black slaves is part of this endeavor. The bill was introduced by Republicans. Former President Donald Trump also wished to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. Moreover, as stated previously, black and white Americans have been observing this holiday for over a hundred years. Are they Marxists, too?
Moreover, his statement that we should only have one Independence Day that “applies equally to people of all races” misses the point. One does not have to be black to commemorate Emancipation Day. Americans of all cultures have participated in Juneteenth festivities.
Lastly, we have media personality Candace Owens, who was also unhappy about Juneteenth. “Juneteenth is soooo lame,” she mean-girl tweeted. “Democrats really need to stop trying to repackage segregation. “I’ll be celebrating July 4th and July 4th only. I’m American. Flag of United States.”
Juneteenth is soooo lame.
Democrats really need to stop trying to repackage segregation.
I’ll be celebrating July 4th and July 4th only.
I’m American. 🇺🇸
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) June 17, 2021
Owens is yet another person who would benefit from a bit of light reading on the matter. If she had done a modicum of research, she would know that Juneteenth has absolutely nothing to do with segregation. In fact, that word isn’t even used to describe what the holiday means.
Again, Juneteenth is an American holiday. The event it commemorates is something that should be celebrated by all Americans. Republicans, especially, should take pride in the notion that the slaves were finally freed in Texas.
Republicans love to boast about how the Party of Lincoln freed the slaves. We cherish this part of our nation’s history. In light of this, what sense does it make to demonize an effort to commemorate what the GOP accomplished? Why would one take issue with honoring the ending of an evil and vicious institution?
Juneteenth symbolizes an event that moved America closer towards living up to the values upon which she was founded. It was a moment when the nation began repenting of its original sin. To put it simply: This was a wonderful moment in our history. What good reason is there not to memorialize it?