In a column lamenting the state of Florida’s efforts to “in recent years to restrict and suppress voting — particularly by groups who lean Democratic, such as young people, the poor and minorities”, the New York Times‘ Charles Blow makes reference to the fact that the Sunshine State celebrates the birthday of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederacy.
Today, June 3, is that day. Happy birthday, I guess, to Jefferson Davis.
That Florida recognizes Jefferson Davis Day was a bit of shock, not just to me, but also to other political reporters in the state. Discussing the issue on Twitter, the AP’s venerable Gary Fineout tweeted:
@Fineout: I’ve lived in Fla. for 41 years and never heard of a statewide holiday for Jefferson Davis birthday.
Surprised, if not disappointed, at the knowledge that my state celebrates the birth of a man whose highest accomplishment was leading others in disunion from this great nation, I dug a little more into what other holidays the state of Florida celebrates.
Well, whistle me Dixie, the state of Florida not only recognizes Jefferson Davis Day, but also Robert E. Lee Day (on January 19) and Confederate Memorial Day (on April 26).
In fact, of the twenty legal holidays specified in Florida Statutes, three of them are associated with the Confederacy. Of course, these holidays are not celebrated with much enthusiasm. No one gets the day off for Jefferson Davis Day and the banks are still open on Confederate Memorial Day.
But, with these anachronisms still codified into our state’s laws, no wonder the Yankees still look down upon us.