OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Rush Limbaugh frequently complains that Republicans always let the Democrats and media drive the narrative. That has certainly been the case with the race riots we have had in the past month. We have Republicans (I’m looking at you, Mike Braun) suggesting ending qualified immunity for police, the GOP entering legislation on police reform, and now, we are looking to add a Juneteenth holiday.
I am not opposed to adding Juneteenth as a national holiday. It is certainly a day to be celebrated, although I’ll be honest in saying I never heard of Juneteenth until this year. We most certainly should celebrate emancipation and the end of slavery in the United States. What I am opposed to, however, is eliminating the holiday for Christopher Columbus.
I guess when the Democrats decide an issue is really important, Republicans act. When Republican voters think an issue is important, such as a border wall and ending Planned Parenthood funding, nothing gets done. There are usually just a whole lot of excuses. I’m tired of it. President Trump, and maybe a very small handful of Republicans, are the only ones fighting for us. The rest of them, Republicans and Democrats alike, are all on the same opposing team.
The media and Democrats decided this year that Juneteenth is now a big deal. Republicans have taken their marching orders and are acting.
A bipartisan bill sponsored by John Cornyn (R-Texas) to make Juneteenth a federal holiday is being held up by an internal Senate GOP squabble.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), an outspoken budget hawk, doesn’t want to add another paid holiday to the calendar.
Johnson says if Juneteenth is made a federal holiday, another paid federal holiday should come off the schedule. He’s proposing scrapping Columbus Day but is open to eliminating another holiday instead.
For his part, Cornyn is opposed to ending the Columbus Day holiday despite Johnson’s concerns about each federal holiday costing taxpayers about $600 million in federal salaries.
Cornyn, however, says it would be “problematic” to cut Columbus Day, which celebrates the Italian explorer who is widely credited with being the first European to discover the American continent. Columbus Day has long been popular with Italian Americans, in particular.
Cornyn said swapping in Juneteenth and cutting out Columbus Day “dilutes the message we’re trying to send, which is one of being respectful and honoring and remembering our history.”
“I think that’s problematic,” he said of the Johnson counteroffer. “We’re working through all those things right now. we just don’t have an answer right this second.”
While I agree that it is problematic to eliminate Columbus Day, I’m not so sure it’s all that problematic to most of our Republican leaders. They have been pretty quiet about the BLM movement and the destruction of monuments, symbols of our very history.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens. I just hope none of these Republicans think that spearheading making Juneteenth a national holiday will win them any friends. It most certainly will not. They will still be called RACIST by Democrats and the media.