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Nate Jackson / October 11, 2021

Columbus Day vs. Indigenous Peoples’ Day

The bottom line: Historical revisionists of the Left hate America.

History is complicated because people are complicated. Rarely will you find anyone who operates with only one motive, and often not all of those motives are pure. Yet leftists want to condemn Christopher Columbus and the holiday that bears his name because he wasn’t a perfect saint. To replace this evil colonizer, they want to celebrate the indigenous peoples who enslaved each other, offered human sacrifice, and committed genocide because … well, shut up, they explained.

Columbus, of course, discovered what Europeans would come to call the New World. He set out to find gold, in large part to fund Christian evangelism and the reconquest of Jerusalem. On a voyage to what he thought would be India, he instead landed in the Bahamas. The known world suddenly became much larger, and the Western value of courageous exploration took root. On the other hand, Columbus’s men and subsequent explorers also committed atrocities and brought disease. Obviously, his discovery wasn’t an unmarred good — little in history ever is.

Still, for much of our history, the only controversy about celebrating the 1492 landing of Columbus and his three ships in the Caribbean was that a viking named Lief Erickson discovered Newfoundland a few hundred years before him. Then the “progressive” historical iconoclasts came along and insisted that Columbus was a racist who brought only death to peaceful natives.

Dozens of cities have canceled Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Schools and other places are removing any branding associated with Columbus. But that’s not all. “Several Columbus monuments have been attacked and vandalized around the country,” writes The Daily Signal’s Jarret Stepman. “The towering Columbus statue at Columbus Circle in New York City now needs 24-hour guards after Mayor Bill de Blasio put it on the list of a commission to review ‘offensive’ memorials.”

Ironically, history repeats itself: A century ago, the Ku Klux Klan behaved likewise due to anti-Italian sentiments. They tore down statues and even lynched Italian Americans.

This year, Joe Biden issued the first-ever presidential proclamation naming today Indigenous Peoples’ Day. “We must never forget,” he said, “the centuries-long campaign of violence, displacement, assimilation, and terror wrought upon Native communities and Tribal Nations throughout our country.”

Aside from the noxious leftist idea that assimilation is no different than terror is the “progressive” dogma that there is no forgiveness, only perpetual guilt. President “Unity” is only dividing Americans with such political pandering.

In fact, Biden’s accompanying proclamation “recognizing” Columbus Day was arguably worse. With a slight nod to the contributions of modern Italian Americans, Biden again launched into anti-American condemnation of “the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities.” He declared that “our greatness as a Nation” comes from the fact that he and his ilk keep reminding us about “these shameful episodes of our past.”

He completely neglects any and all good brought about by European settlement in a place that was millennia behind in terms of technology and culture. That is shameful.

A far better presidential model was Ronald Reagan, who once said: “Columbus is justly admired as a brilliant navigator, a fearless man of action, a visionary who opened the eyes of an older world to an entirely new one. Above all, he personifies a view of the world that many see as quintessentially American: not merely optimistic, but scornful of the very notion of despair.” Patriots should help the next generation of Americans learn that history.

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