The United States has a new federal holiday. On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden signed a bill into law that officially designates Juneteenth—observed each year on June 19—as an American holiday…Known to some as the country’s “second Independence Day,” Juneteenth celebrates the freedom of enslaved people in the United States at the end of the Civil War. For more than 150 years, African American communities across the country have observed this holiday.
At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation came into effect and declared enslaved people in the Confederacy free—on the condition that the Union won the war. The proclamation turned the war into a fight for freedom and by the end of the war 200,000 Black soldiers had joined the fight, spreading news of freedom as they fought their way through the South.
Since Texas was one of the last strongholds of the South, emancipation would be a long-time coming for enslaved people in the state. Even after the last battle of the Civil War was fought in 1865—a full two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed—it is believed that many enslaved people still did not know they were free. As the story goes, some 250,000 enslaved people only learned of their freedom after Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, and announced that the president had issued a proclamation freeing them…
With Granger’s announcement, June 19—which would eventually come to be known as Juneteenth—became a day to celebrate the end of slavery in Texas. As newly freed Texans began moving to neighboring states, Juneteenth celebrations spread across the South and beyond.
This commentary is excerpted from an email I sent off literally 5 minutes before I saw tonight’s cartoon.
In the 1940’s – when I was a kid in elementary school and spring came around to the East End of Bridgeport, there were a couple of constants. (1) We’d get ready to start playing baseball, again. There always were seasonal pickup games of basketball or football; but, baseball was the sport for our neighborhood. (2) We’d look around as kids would start gathering to and from school, afternoon sports time, weekends – to see who died over winter.
Diphtheria vaccination was becoming widespread; still, we’d always lose at least one kid over winter. Going into spring and summer, polio was the scariest. There often was a survivor or two clattering through the neighborhood on crutches … And another one or two missing.
We learned to embrace vaccination, parents and kids alike, as the best modern survival medicine on Earth. I can’t recall more than one True Believer of the breast-beating Christian category who refused to be vaccinated. And, yes, he died before he was old enough to vote. My peers and I said, “he got what he deserved”.
Our government, our educators, have grown soft in the head and lax since the bad old days … Ignoring the propaganda of religious nutballs and ignoranus conservatives. They deserve the blame … and most of the responsibility to bring education and understanding back up to standard. In my not-at-all-humble opinion.
No waiting in line
The secularization of U.S. society — the waning of religious faith, practice and affiliation — is continuing at a dramatic and historically unprecedented pace. While many may consider such a development as cause for concern, such a worry is not warranted. This increasing godlessness in America is actually a good thing, to be welcomed and embraced.
Democratic societies that have experienced the greatest degrees of secularization are among the healthiest, wealthiest and safest in the world, enjoying relatively low rates of violent crime and high degrees of well-being and happiness. Clearly, a rapid loss of religion does not result in societal ruin …
Organic secularization can occur for many reasons. It happens when members of a society become better educated, more prosperous, and live safer, more secure and more peaceful lives; when societies experience increases in social isolation; when people have better healthcare; when more women hold paying jobs; when more people wait longer to get married and have kids. All of these, especially in combination, can decrease religiosity.
Another major factor is the ubiquity of the internet, which provides open windows to alternative worldviews and different cultures that can corrode religious conviction — and allows budding skeptics and nascent freethinkers to find, support and encourage one another.
Overdue! I had read sufficient science to be an atheist by the time I was 13. Added studies in philosophy to properly associate my understanding with philosophical materialism … by 18.
Never had to look back and change that comprehension, understanding.
Perhaps the most surprising element of President Joe Biden’s first presidential speech on Thursday night was what it did not include…Yet there is no doubt that the political implications of his plan have the potential to be nothing less than radical…
There’s the tax credit for children that in effect provides thousands of dollars a year for each child—an idea that’s been debated since Daniel Moynihan proposed it as a member of the Nixon administration. There’s the significant expansion of subsidies to buy into health care, along with months’ worth of free access to health insurance for those who’ve lost their jobs and health insurance—not “socialized medicine,” but a significant step toward more public underwriting of health care. And there’s an $86 billion commitment to protect the pensions of a million retirees whose multi-employer plans were in danger of insolvency—without even a pretense that this is linked to the Covid pandemic…
Overdue, of course. Most Western democracies have moved towards, often beyond, the pillars of this qualitative legislation. They marched forward at the end of the war against Nazi fascism. Not only to rebuild; but, advance new and greater standards of life and freedom. That’s a different piece of history this article needn’t address.
I have to wonder how soon – and how well – the “average American” will come to understand benefits like these. The battle yet to rage shall rollout ancient ideology from the Right. Fear and trembling unto death, no doubt. I have to wonder how much courage, backbone and strategic understanding will come to stand up for all of us. Not from the Left…what there is in the GOUSA…but, from the Democrats own party.
“The times they are a’changing” – I hope.
And way overdue…
The Supreme Court said Thursday that a large swath of eastern Oklahoma, including Tulsa, is Native American land for purposes of federal criminal law in a decision that the state argued could call into question thousands of state prosecutions for serious crimes.
Justice Neil Gorsuch penned the 5-4 opinion joined by the liberals on the bench…
“Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law,” said Gorsuch, who was appointed by President Donald Trump. “Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word,” he said.
Under the law, crimes involving Native Americans on a reservation are under federal, not state, jurisdiction…
The unique case represented the opportunity for the Supreme Court to weigh in on the limits of tribal sovereignty and revisit the country’s horrific history of displacing native tribes from their land.
Justice for the white land grab of Native American lands is so long overdue, the court should probably hear from Methuselah.