Make Juneteenth a national holiday now | Health, Medicine and Fitness

Trump’s plan to appear in Tulsa is the act of not only a racial demagogue, but also a leader who seems intent on promoting violence — a theme his past speeches to law enforcement have repeatedly invoked. With his tacit, and sometimes explicit, embrace of xenophobia, racism and vitriol against Americans who oppose his views, Trump has proved himself perhaps the biggest threat to American democracy since Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, two white supremacist traitors to democracy who have, until the last few weeks, largely been lionized rather than treated as the war criminals they in fact were.

In America, for both good and ill, symbolism matters. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s successful effort to fuse civil rights struggles with founding precepts of American democracy worked political miracles for a time: for instance, President John F. Kennedy subsequently acknowledged black citizenship as a moral issue. President Lyndon Johnson went further, comparing peaceful black protesters in Selma, Alabama, to the patriots who fought iconic battles in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, during the American Revolution.

The powerful symbolism of making Juneteenth a national holiday is what America needs right now. Juneteenth honors America’s past racial justice victories even while acknowledging our bitter defeats. Suddenly, struggles for racial justice, black dignity and human rights that have faced huge setbacks in the age of Trump appear within reach, powered by Black Lives Matter demonstrations that have featured an unprecedentedly multiracial array of protesters in the streets.

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