Juneteenth - The Reason Your Bank is Closed Today: Cultural Appropriation and Virtue Signaling
On February 25, 2021, Senator Edward J. Markey (D – Mass) introduced a bill which would become public law on June 17, 2021 under President Joe Biden. It was entitled the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act”.
The Democrat-led initiative was co-sponsored by 60 senators, 40 of whom were Democrats. Of the 20 republicans joining the chorus of “please close my bank one more day a year” was Florida Republican Marco Rubio. It was passed in the Senate by unanimous consent, brining Florida Republican Rick Scott along in the “close my bank” choir.
In the House of Representatives the bill was not passed unanimously.. Only14 Republicans objected to closing your bank for another day….sadly none from Florida.
Yes, ALL Florida Republican Representatives (Bilirakis, Buchanan, Cammack, Diaz-Balart, Donalds, Dunn, Franklin, Gaetz, Gimenez, Mast, Posey, Rutherford, Salazar, Waltz and Webster) teamed up with Florida Democrats to close your bank today.
So what is worth another paid holiday for Federal and State Government workers, US Postal Employees, and Banks?
Texas history is the basis for Juneteenth. Texans will tell you that for decades, some people of color refused to work in Texas on this day. The State made Juneteenth an official holiday in 1980.
Why? After the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of Tennessee were both surrendered in April, 1865, Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith continued to resist with his Army of the Trans-Mississippi. On June 2, 1865, Smith would officially surrender at Galveston. Smith would escape to Mexico, and Federal troops would occupy the town.
US Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger was given command of the Military District of Texas. Upon entering the City of Galveston, on June 19 Gen. Granger issued General Order No 3 which was read to the people of Galveston, Texas. It stated:
"The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."
This military Order, of course, preceded 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and so, many argue, had no legal or permanent significance.
Others assert that the Order just repeated President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued 2 1/2 years earlier on January 1st, 1863…and it just ‘took a while’ for them to get the word.
The only problem with that argument is that the carefully worded Proclamation (Lincoln was a lawyer you may recall), was a war measure ‘to suppress the rebellion’ in geographical areas, including the entire state of Texas, where he was not President…Jefferson Davis was.
So Gen. Granger seemingly jumped the gun...arguably exceeding the scope of Lincoln’s Proclamation.
However, Lincoln was not alive to rebuke Grainger, and his successor POTUS 17, Andrew Johnson ushered in what became known as “Radical Reconstruction”.
But let’s not let actual historical facts or anything else get in the way of another taxpayer funded day off!
18 years ago, in 2004, the National Taxpayers Union criticized then Pres. George Bush for giving off an extra paid Federal Holiday saying the cost of lost productivity and overtime likely would top $450 million.
Incidentally, the newly-minded syndrome of “Cultural appropriation” is defined as the use of objects or elements of a non-dominant culture in a way that reinforces stereotypes or contributes to oppression and doesn’t give credit to their sources. It also includes the unauthorized use of parts of their culture without permission.
Did Texans give their permission for Massachusetts Senator Markey, the US Government and all Federal Banks to appropriate their State holiday? Do the “bank closed” signs credit Texas for the reason they are closed? Not likely. But let’s not worry about hypocrisy either.
So when election day rolls around, remember who was and who was not interested in historical facts and who is and is not willing to appropriate and politicize history and culture for political profit at the taxpayer expense….that is unless you work for a bank and want another paid day off!