By Scot Faulkner
Another step in erasing our collective memory
My previous column raised alarms about radical leftists who want to obliterate everything good that America ever did or aspired to achieve, and sow the seeds for future generations to revile and reject everything that is decent and noble in our country. I call it their “final assault on America.” But make no mistake, leftists also want to obliterate Independence Day to remake America to fit their radical agenda.
That is why erasing our celebration of July Fourth, and replacing it with Juneteenth, is the Left’s Holy Grail. Denigrating the American Flag, displacing our National Anthem, and ending Independence Day as a national holiday, are the Left’s trinity for destroying America’s history, pride and civic culture.
Changing calendar references eradicates the old order to establish a radical new one. The Bolsheviks replaced Christian holidays with May Day (May 1) and their October Revolution (November 6). French Revolution zealots went so far as to rename the months of the year.
Juneteenth celebrates June 19, 1865, the day a little-known Union general proclaimed that slavery was officially abolished in Texas. Ironically, at that time, slavery was still legal in Delaware and Kentucky. However, local celebrations of the Texas announcement launched similar Juneteenth festivities, which slowly spread to other communities throughout America.
For radicals on the Left, turning a still obscure moment in history into a new and “more inclusive” national holiday is fundamental to shifting the inspiring narrative of America’s founding in 1776 to the darker, anti-American narrative of the 1619 movement.
Above all, the 1619 Project seeks to focus attention on America’s terrible legacy of slavery. It seeks to diminish and tarnish any emphasis on our Declaration of Independence and the great strides we have made in bringing together in peace and harmony the most diverse peoples and cultures ever gathered together in one nation.
Those who despise the United States do not want to recognize, much less celebrate, our ever-continuing efforts “to form a more perfect union,” by calling upon and inspiring what President Abraham Lincoln himself called “the better angels of our nature.”
Certainly, June 19th is important to many African Americans, and other Americans as well. Those who wish to do so should absolutely celebrate that historic moment – just as people of differing faiths, creeds, colors and ethnic origins commemorate and learn from their religious and cultural holidays and histories. They have the right and should be encouraged to do so.
However, that does not, and must not, mean we should depose and replace our truly national holidays, or the important events they commemorate, in pursuit of radical political agendas.
It was thus surprising that, just before this year’s Fourth of July, Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) and James Lankford (R-OK) called for establishing Juneteenth as “a national holiday to remember the 1865 emancipation of slaves in the United States.” They would eliminate the Columbus Day holiday, because it is “a holiday that is lightly celebrated, and least disruptive to Americans’ schedules.” Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) co-sponsored Juneteenth legislation with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).
The moment Juneteenth is in and Columbus is out, the Left will move to eliminate the July Fourth holiday as being just two weeks apart and “disruptive” to summer work schedules.
During the summer, Nikole Hannah-Jones, the intellectual force behind eliminating the Fourth of July and embracing the 1619 movement, barnstormed cable news to assert that “Independence Day does not mean the same thing to everybody. We are forcing white people to confront what this holiday has meant to black people.”
On one show, Hannah-Jones’ assault was supported by historian Jon Meacham, who asserted the Fourth of July was “only about a document, not about shaping a nation,” while Juneteenth is a fully inclusive culminating moment in America’s story. They both recommended that Americans “evolve,” and end the “divisive” and “racist” Fourth in favor of the “more inclusive and accurate” Juneteenth.
Hannah-Jones added: “For generations we have looked at 1776 as our founding moment, our “nativity,” when it was actually 1619.… For too long we have taught this one narrative that glorifies white supremacy, glorifies colonization,”
Attacking July 4th began on July 1, 2011. That was when Harvard University released a study claiming that “children who attend July 4 celebrations are more likely to identify themselves as Republicans in life.” The study observed, “The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats.”
The study continued, “attending one rain-free July 4 celebration before the age of 18 increases the likelihood that children will identify as Republican by two percent, and increases the likelihood that they will vote for a Republican candidate by the time they turn 40 by four percent.”
Overnight, patriotism became partisan.
During the summer of 2019, the New York Times, armed with the revisionist history of Nikole Hannah-Jones, launched the 1619 history curriculum. 1619’s goal is to completely recast America as the most demonic, racist, destructive nation that has ever existed.
According to the 1619 narrative, America began when a ship filled with African slaves arrived at Jamestown during the summer of 1619. Everything since, it insists, has been a steady march of white racism destroying dark skinned people and polluting the world with white supremacist and white privilege dogma, as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.
Since the 1960s, colleges and universities have indoctrinated students with anti-Americanism. K-12 is the next battleground. A recent study found that 66% of high school students believe America is exceptional, and 70% look favorably on America’s history. Only 47% of college students think America is exceptional, and 44% are favorable to our nation’s history.
The 1619 curriculum is already being used in over 3,000 schools. Changing history to eliminate July 4th, and replacing it with Juneteenth, is a critical part of 1619’s anti-Americanism strategy.
Juneteenth is based on the false narrative that slavery in America ended on June 19, 1865. That was the day Union General Gordon Granger marched into Galveston, Texas and announced the Civil War was over and slaves still being held in the region were free.
It took ratifying the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865 to officially free all of America’s slaves. Border states were not included in the Emancipation (Kentucky still had 40,000; Delaware too had thousands). Over the next year, Federal officials with the Freedman Bureau, backed by Union troops, had to personally enforce the Thirteenth Amendment, as some slaveholders in charge of isolated plantations withheld news of Emancipation so that their slaves could be used for additional harvests.
Elevating Juneteenth as the end of slavery and the Civil War is like celebrating the end of World War II based on Japanese soldiers surrendering on isolated Pacific islands in the 1950s, or even last diehard (Hiroo Onoda) in 1974.
Making Juneteenth a national holiday must be opposed every step of the way.
Scot Faulkner is the former Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives and author of the bestselling political memoir, “Naked Emperors.”
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.