If you think it’s strange that we celebrate Independence Day with both a federal and a state holiday but only have a federal holiday for Juneteenth, you’re right.

Ending the legal enslavement of human beings was what allowed our nation to begin to live into the aspirational values set forth in the declaration of our independence: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

What you might not be right about is the reason for the difference — and the best way to correct it.

The problem isn’t that so many white South Carolinians oppose celebrating anything to do with black people. Yes, there are white people who feel that way, here and across the country. But there aren’t nearly as many of them as the talking heads on left-wing media would have you believe — just as there aren’t as many people claiming that white people are inherently evil as the talking heads on right-wing media want you to believe.

Nor is the driving force of resistance that Juneteenth is a weird date to celebrate the end of slavery. It does seem strange, signifying as it does the emancipation of slaves in a single state; the date in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared all slaves in the Confederate states free seems a better fit, or the Jan. 31, 1865, passage or Dec. 6 ratification of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery throughout the nation.

But this is one of the rare instances where it makes sense to give extra weight to the views of one race over the others, and African Americans have embraced Juneteenth, so that makes it the right choice. In any event, the idea that it’s an odd date isn’t what’s kept the Legislature from turning it into a holiday either.

To understand the failure of our lawmakers to act, consider what holidays signify.

Many private businesses pay their employees to not work on July 4, along with Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Martin Luther King Day and Memorial Day. But most people who want to not work on other state holidays such as President’s Day, Veteran’s Day, the day after Thanksgiving and multiple days around Christmas have to use their vacation days — and that’s assuming too many of their colleagues haven’t already claimed those days. None of this reflects on how much importance private-sector employers place on these other state holidays. It reflects the cost of paying employees to not work. And the extra money it costs to have all of them not work on the same day.

That’s also why most businesses don’t yet give employees the day off for Juneteenth, which the Congress sprung on us three years ago as a federal holiday. And it’s the main reason the S.C. Legislature hasn’t added Juneteenth to its list of official state holidays: Our legislators have become less unwilling to raise state employees’ pay, but that goes only so far.

The political groups that push for Juneteenth and other government holidays think of them in terms of respect. Just read The Post and Courier’s article from last month on the Legislature’s failure to create a Juneteenth holiday, and you’ll see a lot of people talking about South Carolina’s failure to honor African American history. That’s not a complaint without any basis. But Juneteenth isn’t evidence of it; state law actually honors Juneteenth, just not with a day off.

Juneteenth is evidence of the fact that 4 million South Carolinians already pay our 36,000 state employees to not work 13 holidays a year — while working most of those days ourselves.

Adding another state holiday doesn’t just mean paying state employees to not work; it also means inconveniencing those of us who don’t get that day off (or who do) and need to renew our driver’s license or conduct other business with state government.

There’s an obvious fix: Just eliminate one of those 13 state employee holidays — New Year’s, Martin Luther King Day, George Washington’s birthday/President’s Day, Confederate Memorial Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and the day after, Christmas Eve, Christmas and the day after Christmas — and replace it with Juneteenth.

Confederate Memorial Day is problematic in many ways, but even if we ignore that one, the day after Thanksgiving and the days before and after Christmas stick out as obvious swaps. There are practically no holidays for hospitality and retail employees, and other sectors might provide six or even occasionally 10 holidays. Not 14. Not even 13. Even the federal government recognizes only 11 holidays.

(S.C. public schools are open only 180 days a year, and still some don’t observe all 13 S.C. holidays. State colleges are likewise exempt from the holiday requirement, although state law limits them to 13 paid holidays a year.)

The political delicacy here is that no one likes to have things taken away from them, and that applies to state employees and their holidays as well: Yes, they’d be happy to have Juneteenth off, but don’t tell them they have to work on Black Friday, or the day before or after Christmas.

Our lawmakers just need to suck it up and make a swap, because it needs to be done.

What they shouldn’t do is buy into another one of those black holiday/white holiday deals. The idea of having state employees choose between Confederate Memorial Day and Juneteenth perpetuates the notion — which thrives on left- and right-wing media — that white people all worship the Confederacy and only black people want to celebrate our nation’s opportunity to fulfill its vaulting aspirational promises.

Most of us find both ideas insulting.

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