I was shocked to wake up this morning and find so many conservative social media warriors lamenting the declaration of Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Here’s just one example.
Lincoln knew America’s founding was July 4 1776. He knew that was the day our amazing nation made a step from “ideal” to reality
“Juneteenth” is an affront to the unity of July 4th. We now have 2 summer holidays—and one of them based on race
Shame on the GOP for supporting this
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 17, 2021
I do not understand why any Republican or conservative would be opposed to this holiday. The only thing that makes sense to me is that too many conservatives have allowed themselves to be sucked into the “us vs. them” narrative and so oppose this because Biden signed it into law.
What a missed opportunity. When cranky liberals try to pin racism on the right, any Republican worth their salt will fire back with, “The GOP is the party of Lincoln! The party of abolition!”
Truth. So why pass up this amazing marketing opportunity? Rather than being angry about this because some deem it a “political” holiday, conservatives should be taking every opportunity to remind Americans just who brought them this glorious day. You want to know how to maintain the momentum with the Black vote that Trump began? This is a great place to start. Trump is gone, but the Republican Party is still a political force. The task should not end with Trump. Why would we want that?
Justin Amash caught Charlie Kirk in his own Twitter net on this one, and it’s a lesson every conservative should be watching.
— Kira (@RealKiraDavis) June 17, 2021
Charlie’s original instinct was good. Democrats like to politicize these discussions, and he reminded them that Juneteenth is a day brought to Americans by the Grand Old Party. If we want to make it a federal holiday, we need to be reminding Americans just where it came from in the first place. That sounds like good history and good sense.
So why did Kirk do an about-face? Why are so many conservatives angry about it?
It’s an embarrassing dichotomy. Some conservative pundits are saying that Democrats will only politicize this holiday to bash conservatives (and they’re getting plenty of ammo to do just that, today) and possibly replace July 4th as a unifying celebration of patriotism. I can’t speak to the latter, but there is no doubt that the former is true. Democrats will politicize anything if it helps make their emotional case.
If anything, that seems like more of an argument for the right to embrace Juneteenth and its roots. It’s weird that it is considered pandering if Biden signs it, but when Trump proposed it we were all for it. When we’re begging elitist Republicans to pay attention to the needs of their grassroots base, we call that engagement. When we’re saying we need to be paying attention to the needs of Black voters, we call that pandering. How very hypocritical.
Let’s be a little more self-aware than that.
Opposition to Juneteenth as a holiday based on race is indicative of the larger problem we’re facing — the gaps in our historical history and knowledge that need to be filled so we can all love our country more. We’ve allowed our leaders to burden us with the idea that Black history and American history are two different things. That is patently ridiculous. They are one and the same. You can’t tell the story of this nation without Black America. This nation doesn’t exist without us, and we don’t exist without this nation. We’ve allowed our stories to be segregated to one month and that may have been a mistake. There should be no difference, no division. What happened to and in Black America happened to everyone. If you want to lecture about unity, start with unifying our histories. Here is the perfect opportunity.
Juneteenth isn’t a rejection of America. It is a celebration of America, and how far we’ve come, and how superior our culture is and continues to be.
Conservatives need to quit with the knee-jerk response and wrestle this opportunity. Make every American see this as a Republican holiday, and then dare the Democrats to tell us why Juneteenth is a bad idea.
It’s a federal holiday now. It’s here to stay. You can whine about it and make all of us look petty in the process, or you can embrace it as an opportunity for unity…or at the very least another excuse for a party. Let it be like Thanksgiving, which we have come to see as the “gateway” to the Christmas season. Let Juneteenth be the gateway to the patriotic season.
The choice is yours, but don’t whine when the Democrats run away with the narrative yet again while we complain about redecorating this supposedly big tent.