A Joyous Juneteenth
By ice rivers
From the moment that Jefferson altered the concept of inalienable rights by changing John Locke's concept of "life, liberty and property" to "life liberty and the pursuit of happiness", America perhaps more than any other country has been ferociously seeking happiness since its declaration of independence. I'm speaking here of male Caucasian landed Americans who found a tremendous amount on happiness in seizing property and owning it. Women and blacks were more or less considered to be a form of property and they should be "happy" as long as the landowner was happy. Life was very simple as white patriarchy wasn't too hard to figure out.
Very slowly we became aware that slavery was not exactly happiness for the slaves and we began our slow expansion of moral imagination which eventually led to the Civil War which led to the end of slavery in the Confederate states. It took a full two years from the Emancipation for the slaves to realize that they were "free".
Tehn in a flash of imagination, we realized that women should and could vote as they began to become the majority gender. Prfetty soon, we even came to the conclusion that they had a right to make decsions about thier bodies.
Today we have a brand new federal holiday to celebrate that day, a day that black folks have been celebrating for the past 150 years that has only recently become a point of reference to the white folk in America.
In the past four days, we have experienced Father's Day, Juneteenth and the beginning of Summer. What a wonderful stretch of happiness. We love to celebrate our happiness on holidays. Everything is "happy". Happy 4th of July, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy New Year, Happy Valentine's day, Happy Martin Luther King Day, Happy St. Patrick's Day, Happy Hannukah, Happy Pride on an on and on.....Happy happy happy.
The only exception used to be "Merry" Christmas which has now retreated to Happy Holidays.
Are we so obsessed and insecure with our happiness that we have to blab about it every "holiday" while exercising our lack of vocabularic expression and imagination. Paticularly we white heterosexual males who have been rightly happy about the big head start we have enjoyed in the race to pursue our happiness.
Maybe we can change that perspective with our new holiday.
Some folks are already sensitive to sayng "happy" about anything that includes a remider of our original our original sin of slavery. I get that.
Who exactly was happy on that day? Who has been celebrating it for the past 150 years? You know who. Our brothers and sisters of color. Their celebrations have often been described as joyous with widespread singing and dancing.
Yeah, that's the ticket.
Joyous for a start.
Have a joyous Juneteenth.
Maybe with more joy we'd have even more happiness.
Maybe we should have more holidays. Maybe even election day so that everybody would have time to vote and less of an excuse not to vote. We could wish each other a Peaceful election day, which is exacly what we need to undivide our states. Peace joy and happiness.
We're all in this together.
But not rilly.
The Supreme Court is about to overturn Roe vs Wade and we take another step backwards.