National Days

Why Columbus Day Is Worth Celebrating

But if you live in any number of "enlightened" progressive cities, today is "Indigenous Peoples' Day."

Robin Smith · Oct. 9, 2017

If written today, the childhood poem about Columbus Day would look nothing like the original. You likely remember, “In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He had three ships and left from Spain; He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain…” According to the historical revisionists of today, Columbus was neither brave nor bright, but was rather an imperialist and racist bigot.

For antifa malcontents who use violence to “speak,” their holiday today is “Deface Columbus Day.” The aim is to mark the day of the Italian explorer’s discovery of America by destroying and vandalizing statues and memorials of Christopher Columbus. So antifa thugs get to veil their faces with masks while they break out their soda cans filed with concrete, their bike chains and blow torches and mark a historical day by exhibiting their arrested development.

Meanwhile, if you live in any number of “enlightened” progressive cities, today is “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” According to Chrissie Castro of the LA Native American Indian Commission, “We need to dismantle a state-sponsored celebration of genocide of indigenous peoples. To make us celebrate on any other day would be further injustice.”

So by all means, let’s celebrate the natives who practiced slavery, cannibalism and human sacrifice, as well as perpetrated horrific genocide of their own. That’s so much better.

Moreover, it’s especially rich to have the open borders folks screeching from their sanctuary cities that indigenous people have rights that should be respected by immigrants.

Leftists are truly determined to destroy America’s remarkable discovery and founding. They use many tools to sully and rewrite history, one of which is called “presentism.”

What’s presentism? It’s the approach to events of the past that views them through the lens of modern morality, behavior and ethics. This method takes events of history, such as the many expeditions of Columbus, and deconstructs them into vile categories of invasion and barbarism as measured by biased and politically correct intellectuals devoted to self-loathing instead of guarding world and American history — the good, the bad and the ugly — for the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. Put simply, the morally superior elites of today judge all events — Columbus’ discoveries, the horrors of slavery, various wars, etc. — as if they happened within the last few days.

Let’s analyze a few facts about Columbus Day to truly appreciate the holiday in perspective.

Cristoforo Colombo was born in the Republic of Genoa in 1451, an independent state on today’s boot-shaped nation of Italy. At 35 years of age, the navigator went to Spanish monarchs Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille, after being rejected by the governments of Portugal, Genoa and Venice, only to be rejected a fourth time for sponsorship to find a new trade route to India. The goal was to sail due west rather than fight through the pirate-filled waters of the existing trade routes.

Nonetheless, Columbus prevailed on his fifth request and was financed with three ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Nina, departing Spain in August 1492 at the age of 41. By the way, one of the main reasons Ferdinand and Isabella, called the Catholic Monarchs, denied the explorer’s original request was the Spanish priority of war with the Muslims who were finally defeated in the Granada War in January 1492, ending any Islamic rule on the Iberian peninsula.

Whew, another reason to scratch this discover-America-stuff off the calendar. We can’t learn about Christians and Muslims at war in the 15th century…

Back on board the expeditionary ships, 36 days passed. Columbus and some of his crew stepped foot onto today’s Bahamas, declaring it the property of Spain. But remember, this crew believed they had landed in Asia, just from a different navigational approach. After the Bahamas, Columbus visited Cuba, thinking it to be China. Then, settling on Hispaniola, now known to be the shared island of Dominican Republic and Haiti, the explorers assumed they were in Japan.

Based on their projections erroneously cast upon different lands, Columbus returned to Spain aboard the Nina and the Pinta. The Santa Maria was wrecked off the coast of Hispaniola, and Columbus left 39 men to occupy the settlement.

The royal court of Spain received the explorer bringing glass beads, parrots, spears and other native items with tales that included gold-adorned jewelry worn by the islanders.

So, to commemorate the landing of Columbus in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492, most Americans today appreciate the vision to pursue a dream and persist. Most honor the pursuit that led to the westernization of the New World, which includes our great nation.

Yet the presentists, who reduce all of history down to a vain attempt at moral superiority in the present, obsess on the forced labor of developing the New World, the diseases of one people group that spread among another people group, or the eventual destruction of one (barbaric and violent) culture by a new one.

Again, the ironies are endless, but even New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, of Italian descent like so much of the population of New York, has developed a commission to study whether Columbus was a racist slave-driver in his explorations. As a result, the Big Apple’s leader was left off the invitation list for the Bronx Columbus Day Parade. Event organizer Tony Signorile went so far as to label the hard-left mayor as “a fake Italian.”

De Blasio’s response was predictable: “I’m never surprised when people for their own political motivations do something. … I don’t think it’s something to politicize.” We might say, “Pot, meet Kettle,” but then we’d be racists or something.

Those whose only commitment to education is indoctrination of their revisionist tales are now subjecting all of history to a determination of its worth based on the Left’s current views and values.

A past president of the American History Association, Lynn Hunt of UCLA, wrote back in 2002, before Confederate statues were being “burqaed” and destroyed: “Presentism, at its worst, encourages a kind of moral complacency and self-congratulation. Interpreting the past in terms of present concerns usually leads us to find ourselves morally superior.”

History occurred. How we learn and apply that history reveals much about our moral capacity and worth. Revisionist leftists — and the children they indoctrinate — are poorer for missing it.

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