Happy Conflicting Incoherent Holidays Day!

Have we ever had two holidays collide before? I don’t recall any. Fathers Day occurs on the third Sunday of June, and the newly minted Federal holiday, “Juneteenth” is on the 19th. All of the commercial marketing for weeks now has concentrated on the former (gotta move that necktie inventory!) while all the virtue signaling has focused on the latter.

Not only is this a rare holiday collision, it’s also one that involves two dubious holidays, and I’m being nice by putting it that way. Father’s Day was an afterthought, a needless sop to dads on the theory that men felt disrespected because Mothers Day was a big deal. The greetings card lobbyists were also pushing the thing, and it had been promoted and celebrated for 50 years, but it wasn’t until 1970 that Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing the President to designate the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.

Obviously nobody cared about it much, or Juneteenth would have been shrugged into existence last year with so little resistance. Anyone who could count (or who gave a damn) could figure out that a conflict of holidays was looming.

Juneteenth, if we are honest, was one more bit of white guilt reparations for slavery triggered by the death in Minneapolis of an overdosing black hood who was abused by police officer that should have been canned long before. I keep writing this because it is so transparently absurd, but it is true: if George Floyd hadn’t tried to pass phony bills, or hadn’t had a pharmaceutical potpourri in his bloodstream (plus the Wuhan virus), or hadn’t been huge, or hadn’t resisted arrest, or didn’t have the bad luck to be arrested by Derek Chauvin, we’d be celebrating only one holiday on this June 19th.

That’s one hell of a way to choose national holidays. Moreover, the date itself is contrived. It commemorates the late arrival of the news in Galveston,Texas that the Civil War had ended (more than two months earlier) and that Lincoln had abolished slavery in Texas (and the other Confederate states) two years earlier. This is a holiday about a single state getting its news late.

It is also a tribal, group identification holiday. Before last year, only a small percentage of non-black American had ever heard of Juneteenth; I certainly hadn’t. National holidays should be unifying, not focusing on one ethnic, racial or religious group to the exclusion of others. The various essays about the newest holiday, in contrast, makes it clear that African-American consider Juneteenth “their” holiday. Charles Blow, in a typical column (except that it doesn’t mention Donald Trump), tells us that “Having Juneteenth enshrined as a national holiday makes it more likely that all Americans are taught not only about the day itself but also about the legacy of enslavement, more likely to interrogate the very notion of freedom and examine the imperfections of the emancipation order.” Got it. It’s a day to be critical of the United States. What fun!

The single American whose birthday is a national holiday is a black civil rights leader, but somehow it was necessary to add another holiday to emphasize the importance of conquering slavery and its legacy.

Or perhaps trying to conquer it is more accurate. Ironically one of the most destructive legacies of slavery is the damage it wreaked on the black family. The lack of fathers raising their children in a disproportionate number of of black homes has risen precipitously even since Martin Luther King’s death, and is a major contributor to other pathologies in America’s black culture and communities. It would have been better, healthier and more productive for all concerned if the black community concentrated its attention, self-reflection and teaching on Father’s Day, focusing upon preparing for a better future, rather than papering over that holiday to inflame grievances over the past.

11 thoughts on “Happy Conflicting Incoherent Holidays Day!

  1. I’m still conflicted over Floyd.

    He allegedly had a lethal amount of fentanyl in his system. While it was obvious Chauvin was playing badass, Floyd was saying he couldn’t breathe even before he was on the ground, and he was acting a fool about getting into the vehicle. I don’t remember all the charges, but the Floyd case was emphatically *not* a race based thing. Chauvin had been in trouble for being rough in the past for being too rough.

    Floyd also was a career criminal who was addicted to drugs. People should not be celebrating him and making shrines to him. If you want to celebrate black success, celebrate Clarence Thomas. He is part of the few black Supreme Court justices, and he was nominated by a Republican.

    Look at who a group celebrates, and that will tell you the values of that group. BLM celebrates criminals who often are causing their own deaths. They are virtually silent on crime in the black community that hurts other black people.

  2. I have often wondered why African-Americans didn’t lobby for a holiday on December 6, the date in 1865 when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified. A bit more historic, in my opinion.

  3. Not quite true, Jack, that we haven’t had holidays collide in the past. Every year we have the perennial collision between the mainstream Christmas holiday and the Jewish feast of Hanukkah. Every year there is also always the question of the Jewish high holy days, observed by them but no one else, but very important to them. There was actually even one year in which Hanukkah coincided with Thanksgiving, although it did not seem to leave too much other than some interesting commentary. I did actually bother to write about it because that was the only time those two holidays will coincide in our lifetimes, and talked about being thankful that we didn’t have to fight a war or hack civilization out of the wilderness to obtain religious freedom. There is also the overlap of Easter and Passover in the spring, and the fact that the mainstream and Eastern Orthodox celebrations of both Christmas and Easter do not coincide, or rarely coincide, because of the Eastern Orthodox churches’ use of the Julian rather than the Gregorian calendar. Then there’s the question of what the second Monday in October should be called, whether it is Columbus Day or indigenous peoples day, and what is it celebrating? And let’s not forget the synthesized December holiday of Kwanzaa, created by an African-American separatist scholar. There are also a few other secondary holidays knocking around that deal with specific ethnicities, like St Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo.

    The thing is, until now, there really hasn’t been a question of pushing any one specific person or group to celebrate any one specific holiday. Sometimes liberal and otherwise non-practicing Jews will stir up trouble with regard to school or community Christmas observances, but most of the time they usually just stick a menorah next to the Christmas tree and throw one or two Jewish songs on the program and that’s that. The so-called War on Christmas was really a non-starter because Christmas was just too big of a national holiday to overcome. It’s only really since the beginning of the Trump presidency and then the George Floyd freak out that it became a thing to set competing holidays against one another and place one holiday above the other. It’s just one other way to divide American society and continue to gin up resentment by those the left favors or wants to use as pawns, against those it does not. If you celebrate christmas, but you don’t acknowledge the other holidays around that time, you are xenophobic. If you celebrate the discovery of America instead of it’s first inhabitants, then you are a racist and out of step with the times. And now, if you are an out there commemorating this brand spanking new national holiday instead of waiting for about two more weeks when we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence by a group of men who were all white, all christian, and almost 3/4 slave owners, you are also a racist and out of step with the times. This is not the old Soviet Union and they can’t give you a red scarf for displaying the proper attitude toward the superstitions of the older generation, but they can beat you up for apparently celebrating the wrong holiday.

    • I’ll stick with the premise. The Jewish holidays are not national holidays. Christmas is a secular/cultural holiday as well as a religious one; ditto for Thanksgiving.

      I won a bet with myself that you’d raise the “Columbus Day”/ “Native Peoples Day” issue, but that’s competing names for the same holiday.

      • Congrats on the win. I’ll try not to disappoint. The irony is that a lot of the arguments I hear advanced now to push 32 states that haven’t adopted Juneteenth as a state holiday (they can’t justify the lost productivity) are the same arguments made for Columbus Day decades ago – we earned it, if you don’t put this on the calendar you disrespect our experience, this country needs to stand up and take notice of those it treated badly, etc.

        Interestingly, I can’t speak to whatever else is going on elsewhere in the country, but I can tell you that this Friday the city of Newark, which is pretty darn close to the blackest of black cities, was “celebrating” by holding a protest march and demanding reparations for slavery plus all kinds of police reform laws that would essentially stop the police from doing their jobs. The city will have no public celebration of any kind on July 4th. After all, it isn’t THEIR freedom day, it’s only freedom day for white people like you and me. Hang down your head and be ashamed, white oppressor.

  4. “Juneteenth” is, at best, an historical footnote that pandering politicians should never have elevated to a national holiday. It serves only to further racially balkanize the country. Left to its own, it would likely just be another day when only (mostly federal) government employees get time off, and stores run specially advertised sales. Who wants to bet, though, that other state, city, county, etc. governments, as well as retail operations, won’t now be pressured into shutdowns under threats of violence for lack of proper devotion to the agenda?

  5. I grew up in Ohio and moved to Texas in 1986. I had never heard of Juneteenth until I moved here. It was not a big deal until recently.

    I don’t know if this is true (it’s not – I am making it up as I go) but I understand there is a move to observe the holiday for two more years when the day will be renamed to commemorate the life, death, and ultimate sacrifice paid by St. George of the Floyd, Martyr, patron saint of victims of fentanyl overd . . . erm . . . I mean racist cops. It’s true.


  6. A meme I saw yesterday:
    All of those
    calling for
    ‘Father’s Day’ to be
    changed to
    ‘Special Person’s’
    day, you already
    have a day of your
    own. It’s April 1.

  7. I submitted an entry yesterday and it seems to have vanished. My phone questioned me trying to resubmit it as it was a double post. Weird.

    So I have a couple of Juneteenth-related anecdotes that have made me giggle this weekend. I logged onto my work computer briefly only to run into a conversation between co-workers in which one of them indignantly wondered whether or not our company would give us Juneteenth as a holiday next year.

    I wanted to point out, but didn’t, how companies, even those that want to pander to flash-in-the-pan whims, don’t like to give more paid holidays than necessary. If they want to want to add a holiday that only a small portion of the company celebrates, they will probably have to contend with the animosity of their co-workers who are likely to lose another paid holiday – most likely the day after Thanksgiving. – depriving the entire company of a four-day family holiday in which much traveling is often done.

    The second was a headline announcing how Juneteenth adherents are upset about the way retailers are merchandising the holiday with sales and product for sale. I want to tell them, “Welcome to America. If you have any doubt that you are being treated equally, there is nothing more American than taking a holiday and using it to sell mattresses, cars and putting its name on every piece of merchandise possible.”

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