Count me as one who is thrilled to see Juneteenth officially enshrined as a federal holiday, and count me also as one admittedly dumbfounded at the existence of anyone who would complain about it.
Granted, there are those who will complain about anything that they perceive to be offering their political opposition an advantage, even when it means embarrassingly contradicting themselves.
And there are also those who will complain about any perceived benefit, like an additional paid day off work, the government gives to itself.
To each his own, but from my perspective, every day government bureaucrats aren't working is another day they aren't coming up with new ways to tax me, regulate me, control me, and make my life more cumbersome and difficult. I'm good with that.
Will there be those who use Juneteenth as a divisive social race wedge? Of course:
But does anyone think that CNN and their cohorts wouldn't find another way to do the exact same thing if we hadn't created the holiday? This is who they are. The problem isn't the holiday, it's them.
But set aside all those peripheral issues and consider the day on its merits. Two months after the official surrender of General Lee to General Grant at Appomattox, Union soldiers liberated the remaining Confederate slaves being held in Texas. For years, Juneteenth has been an official state holiday in the Lone Star State, and now by an act of Congress has evolved into a national celebration of the end of slavery in the United States.
Nicknamed "Freedom Day," and "Emancipation Day," I'm curious to know from the Juneteenth opponents what federal holiday, save Independence Day, better celebrates the greatness of our country? Emerge from our privileged Western bubble long enough to realize that slavery still exists – and thrives – in other parts of the world.
People of every race have at some point in human history experienced the shackles of slavery and subjugation. Contrary to the pervasive media narrative that surrounds us, America was anything but distinct or particularly egregious in its struggles with ethnic or racial inequality and mistreatment. What is actually unique about America, and the West in general, is that we freed our slaves on moral grounds.
Remember, the Civil War was not fought because the enslaved rose up in rebellion. The Civil War was waged because half of the country's non-slave population recognized the spark of divine image that existed in those suffering unjust persecution and punishment. Over 100,000 white families lost sons, fathers, and brothers in a noble effort to liberate their fellow man of a different skin color.
That's worth celebrating. And that's what Juneteenth celebrates.
Nineteenth century French statesman and political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville famously observed in his epic tour of American institutions and society that our greatness was not found in our exceptional enlightenment, but rather our ability to correct our mistakes. He was acknowledging the genius of a Western, constitutional system that permitted each successive generation to contribute to the larger cause of creating a "more perfect Union."
The founding generation offered their contribution by providing a civilizational foundation built upon natural rights, individual liberty, and transcendent moral truth. It was that foundation that Lincoln's generation stood upon to offer their own blood-soaked sacrifice to further America's great experiment in human liberty.
Far from eclipsing, replacing, or providing a "black alternative" to the 4th of July, Juneteenth celebrates what the 4th made possible. Independence Day offered the form, Juneteenth boasts the function.
It's hard to imagine how anyone could object to celebrating that.