2020 has been a year filled with culture war freak outs. While we are still trying to piece this insane year together, there are more culture wars to come. We could use a breather to be honest but the fighting is only going to continue. This particular topic is sure to lead to an insanely long rant from Tucker Carlson on his next show.
The current debate started with one very simple question: should America make Juneteenth a federal holiday? This question came to light as a result of the protests that have been taking place on George Floyd’s behalf. It should have been an absolute no brainer. Of course Juneteenth should be a holiday.
There should be a formal commemoration of the official end of slavery. African-Americans have been celebrating the holiday in an informal manner for centuries now. It’s high time that they received some form of official recognition. We supported all those who received a much needed day off recently and hope that the holiday is made fully official as soon as possible.
“In response to a bipartisan effort to give federal workers another day of paid leave by designating Juneteenth a federal holiday, we have offered a counterproposal that does not put us further in debt,” Johnson said Wednesday. “We support celebrating emancipation with a federal holiday, but believe we should eliminate a current holiday in exchange. We chose Columbus Day as a holiday that is lightly celebrated, and least disruptive to Americans’ schedules.”…
“Juneteenth is a day in our history that redefined the meaning of freedom and equality in America,” Lankford said. “We should celebrate these strides on the federal level while remaining cognizant of the impact the existing 10 federal holidays have on federal services and local businesses.”
The Black Lives Matter protesters may not be swayed by this decision but it is definitely a good way to let people know that their lives do matter. That should have been the end of it, right? Let’s rubber stamp this new holiday into existence and hopefully, we could start moving on with our lives. John Cornyn was one of the first to introduce the idea.
As a citizen of Texas, he is already very familiar with this holiday and all that it entails. However, there is a political component at play here. He is up for re-election soon and the state is starting to drift into the blue zone. No wonder he is so nervous. He hopes that he can tell his constituents that he was the one who was willing to push Juneteenth through as an official holiday.
Unfortunately, he’s run into a major roadblock by the name of Ron Johnson. While Johnson is fine with the idea of making this into a national holiday, he does not want to offer an additional paid holiday to the federal workers who will be affected. In other words, if we are going to have this new holiday, he wants an existing one to be subtracted.
The holiday that he and Oklahoma senator James Lankford have decided on is Columbus Day. By adding Juneteenth and removing Columbus Day, Johnson hopes to keep America from going further into debt. “I just don’t think we should be, when we’re already blowing a hole in the budget right now, offering another paid day off for federal employees,” said Johnson.
Cornyn is not pleased by the idea, as you would expect. He’s referred to the Johnson idea as “problematic” and things seem to be at a standstill right now. Italian-Americans are sure to feel slighted if the holiday is taken away from them, as they consider it a matter of ethnic pride. The racial divide in this country is already worsening by the day. Do we really need Italian-Americans taking to the streets in a fit of rage, too?
We’ll spare you the obligatory joke about a certain episode of The Sopranos. Cornyn is probably not prepared to make this swap from a political standpoint and we are willing to bet that Johnson knows it. This feels like a bad faith proposal that is designed to make Cornyn think twice about his idea. Johnson also knows that he would not be able to make this swap without having to answer to President Trump.
The racial politics on this one are rough. A well meaning man is being asked to take a holiday that is associated with black Americans and replace it with one that means a lot to white Americans. It has to be intentional. While we are getting a bit tired of these types of battles, we are definitely interested to see how this one is going to turn out.