Yesterday, June 17, was a pretty momentous day. Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth national holiday into law, and so now we have a federal holiday marking the end of slavery, which is a pretty big deal. Among those in the White House for the signing was Opal Lee, 94, who headed the effort to make the holiday not just a Texas thing, but a national holiday, even walking from Fort Worth to Washington in 2016, when she was nearly 90, to publicize the cause.

It's a really happy occasion, so of course the White Grievance crowd had a problem with it. So let's take a look at some of the less enlightened responses to America's newest national celebration, before we consign them to the ash heap of history. We promise to close with happy stuff!


Now, Yr Editrix already took care of the very worst take on the new holiday, because it came from her own member of Congress, Matt Rosendale, who fretted that celebrating the end of slavery might be a plot to sneak "critical race theory" into the schools (it is not). So we'll have to content ourselves with the also-rans. But let there be no mistake: They stepped in it, plenty.

We'll preface this hall of shame with this observation from The Atlantic's Adam Serwer: "Imagine being so racist you're *mad* about having an extra day to drink beer and eat barbecued meats." These people are indeed the worst.

Let's get one of the ugliest responses out of the way first. It's a two-parter, starting with former CIA guy Tony Shaffer, who's now a rightwing troll who writes for the Epoch Times. He was upset at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for saying that Republicans who voted against the holiday were playing to the worst parts of their base. And so, like any number of mediocre white men, Shaffer decided to lecture AOC with some steaming hot "Southern Democrats did slavery and nothing every changed" bullshit that might as well have come straight from professional history liar Dinesh D'Souza.

Yes, and let's just pretend that there was no party realignment after northern liberal Democrats, with the help of northern liberal Republicans, passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which was signed by a Southern Democrat who knew what was right. Somebody really ought to point that out to Shaffer.

Racist cantaloupe and former congressman Steve King thought Shaffer had a heck of a point, possibly atop his sheet, and explained that the real heroes of emancipation were all white (fact check: Long before Lincoln's proclamation, enslaved people were emancipating themselves, escaping slavery in the chaos of the Civil War).

700,000 white christian men died in the conflict to save the union and end slavery. Their descendants, such as they exist, are still waiting for a thank you from the Congressional Black Caucus. Instead, they demand slavery reparations. Blood is far more precious than sweat.

So to translate, apparently instead of celebrating Juneteenth, Black people should be thanking the descendants of all who fought in the Civil War. Including, logically enough, those on the Confederate side. He does have a point: Slavery in the US couldn't have ended if there had been no enslavers in the first place, so credit where it's due. At least he didn't call for Black people today to pay reparations to the descendants of those combatants.

Also too, Candace Owens did her part to make America a happier place, by claiming that celebrating the end of slavery was — get this — a form of "segregation."

Also too, she wondered why anyone would even want to mark the end of slavery, because slavery is either no big deal, or just a tool to manipulate Black people who aren't as smart as she is, or, fuck knows, It's Candace Owens.

Over at Breitbart, Joel B. Pollak offered his own D'Souzaesque take: It sure is weird that Democrats want to celebrate Juneteenth, since it marks the Republican victory over "Democrat racists." But he did take pains to note we didn't really need a holiday to mark the end of the Civil War, since that's what Memorial Day is for. (No, Pollak didn't mention the nice veteran whose mic was shut off when he mentioned Black people's role in creating the holiday.)

You will be glad to know that Joel Pollak does not consider Juneteenth divisive, however, because it

celebrates the assimilation of black Americans into full American citizenship, whose true potential would only be realized a century later — again, over the opposition of racist Democrats.

Also, for some reason, the Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and the Democratic president passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act, apparently unaware that they were all racists who opposed all three, and once more the Southern Strategy never happened.

But the real First Runner-up to Rep. Rosendale for the Ugly Crown came from the ever-petulant Charlie Kirk, who whined that Juneteenth was out to replace Independence Day, by being in the summer and also all racial:

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

We have a thought that, should he find himself capable of thinking, Charlie Kirk might want to try on for size: A big nation can actually mark two things in history, even if they're in the summer! The 4th of July celebrates the Declaration of Independence. And Juneteenth celebrates an important milestone in extending the Declaration's values to all Americans.

And we can celebrate both, because America is not a zero-sum game.

What's that? Charlie Kirk knew that once? Weird.

Kirk tweet: Senate Republicans are introducing legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. Barack Obama and Joe Biden were in the White House for eight years. Why didn't they ever do it?


And now, on to the happy stuff, after one more genuinely solemn thing. Not long before signing the Juneteenth federal holiday into law, President Joe Biden noted that June 17 also marks a terrible anniversary:

Today marks six years since a white supremacist took nine precious lives at Mother Emanuel in an act of domestic terrorism.

We must honor their lives with action, including reducing gun violence and addressing domestic terrorism.

The sad truth is that if you're marking almost any highlight of African American history, there's a horror hiding in the corner, because that is the true history of this bloody republic. King's 1963 March on Washington was followed just over two weeks later by the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, killing four little girls in their Sunday school class. It's all part of the national story, which is why we need to tell the whole story, honestly.

That said, we can also cry at the beauty of another historical coincidence. Juneteenth became a holiday on the 150th anniversary of the birth of James Weldon Johnson, who wrote the lyrics to "Lift Every Voice and Sing," also known as the Black National Anthem. Following the signing of the law yesterday, everyone at the signing ceremony lifted their voices, and sang:

Let freedom, as they say, ring.

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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