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Juneteenth

I’m looking forward to this new holiday. Well, new for most of us. My employer has given us the afternoon off. It’s a start.

I’d love to participate in celebrations but I’m still social distancing due to my recent health issues. (I’m fine. Just not taking chances). I got an email from Move On about joining an event. Ok, no offense, Move On, but you guys need to observe this year.

Here’s a handy guide from Seventeen on how Juneteenth has been celebrated by Americans whose families were historically impacted the most by it. For example, Juneteenth doesn’t fall on the date of the Emancipation Proclamation. It falls on the date when Texas slaves were emancipated in 1865. It wasn’t until after the war was over that Union troops forced Texas slave owners to set their slaves free. That’s why the Juneteenth flag features the Texas Lone Star in the center.

There were two other union states that waited until the passage of the 13th amendment to follow suit. If I’m not mistaken, one of them was Kentucky. Governor Andy Beshear signed a proclamation yesterday where Kentucky officially recognized Juneteenth. Someone tell Mitch.

Next year, Juneteenth will fall on a Saturday. I see lots of barbecues in our future as we celebrate freedom from slavery and freedom from the throwback presidency we are living under this year.

Happy Juneteenth!

****************

According to the publisher owner of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Pittsburgh is a West Berlin of decadent liberalism compared to the counties that surround us. He said with a sneer.

Take that in for a second.

Welcome to West Berlin! Please air drop Trader Joe’s care packages and emergency alcohol rations!

There are other news sources in Pittsburgh. But I feel sorry for the journalists, including Pulitzer Prize winners, who are being held hostage by their extremist employer who it appears has no respect for the integrity of the press. It means we in Pittsburgh get a somewhat truncated view of protests and the change in public sentiment. (It appears to be more West Berlin than East Berlin).

I can guarantee that West Berlin Pittsburgh will not be swayed by the publisher who thinks reason and racism are roughly equivalent. I predict a landslide for Biden this year like the one for Hillary in 2016. The counties that surround us are sparsely populated, which must be a source of frustration.

And now, for all of us, Leonard Bernstein conducts an international orchestra in Berlin, December 1989 in celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany 45 years after the end of WWII. I watched this concert live with German and Italian ex-pats who were adolescents during WWII and I still get chills watching it. The significance of the American born son of Ukrainian Jews leading musicians from both Berlins, London, Paris and Stalingrad in a celebration of union and freedom was deeply moving.

It should be noted that Germany now has some of the most aggressive laws against empowering fascist and extreme right wing ideologies. It never goes away but it can be held in check. If Germany can overcome the racism and political ideology that lead to the slaughter of people guilty of nothing but their “race”, so can we.

For the 1989 concert in Berlin, the fourth movement of Beethoven’s ninth was renamed from Ode to Joy to Ode to Freedom.