How ironic, how stunning, how sad – that the day on which America celebrates our discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1492, second Monday in October, was replaced by Joe Biden in 2021 with “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” If calendars recognize Columbus Day, Biden does not.
These days, we are encouraged to forget, ignore, and erase Christopher Columbus. Opprobrium – vilest condemnation – is heaped on him, as if he bears responsibility for all the world’s ills. As statues, namesakes, and nameplates of American heroes like Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington are removed by activists for not being “woke,” we are losing Columbus.
To be clear, we should never – ever – do that. What lives in memory lives. Whatever failures the man had, whatever downstream effects flowed from a clash of developed and primitive civilizations, Columbus was what he was – intrepid, courageous, the living embodiment of taking risks with high purpose, tireless hope, and personal resolve.
Is that not what we want our children to do, leaders to do, society to be? Daring enough to keep trying, unflinching when storms rake us, determined to persevere when others give up, ignited by curiosity, willing to think for ourselves, explore, learn, investigate, remain hopeful when others lose hope. That was Columbus.
Somehow, saying this is not enough. The comeback is insensitivity to primitive cultures, a sense that we have discovered all truth in our time, that he should have acted on it in his time, that even as our Founders should have been “woke” not just revolutionary.
The headlong drive to erase Columbus from history, vilify him, blame him for everything the left hates, while elevating those who – in truth – were no more “woke,” Indian populations, hardly equitable to women, minorities, each other, or for that matter on track to discover penicillin, the telephone, combustion engine, human rights, or go to the moon – is a bit absurd.
Mark Twain, himself banned now, wrote with irony, not prejudice: “All I care is that a man is a human being – that is enough for me, he cannot get any worse.”
In that spirit, indulge some irony …
“Happy Indigenous Day! What about Columbus? That guy we used to celebrate for risking everything? He was a bum. A bum? Yeah, discovered it at 41, late bloomer, Italian white privilege, moved to Portugal because they had DACA, and took a loan that the Queen forgave later when he brought stuff back.
Guy named his ship the ‘Santa Maria,’ Saint Mary, you know. Obviously a deplorable type, one of those who “cling to God and guns,” and obviously total MA guy, you know “Make America.”
Anyway, we can forget him, his parents were wool weavers, capitalists, probably homeschooled him. Had to be dinged up, ‘cause everybody knew the world was flat, but he didn’t get it, total non-conformist.
So, the guy gets here, all pumped up ‘cause he’s first, and immediately starts messing with people’s heads, calls them Indians, they say ‘cause he thinks he’s in the West Indies, but gimme a break. He was messing with them, typical Euro.
The guy was a “one note Johnny” too, just went back and forth, three more expeditions, one discovering Cuba, but what a lightweight, thought he was in Japan. I mean, what, you think Cuba looks like Japan? Just watch Discovery Channel, bang, you know, or google it, what was he daft?
Honestly, the dude also discovered Haiti and Dom Rep, and look what that got us. Haiti is impoverished. Dom Rep is hit with hurricanes, just like Cuba. Get the point? This guy started Climate change. I mean, without him, no industry, no fossil fuel discovery, no big business. Get it? This guy was bad news.
If only Senator Elizabeth Warren’s relative, that one from Canada in the 1400s, had gotten the chance, everybody would still be eating local, we’d have solar power, drive soy cars, love wind, tons of corn.
But what did we get? A Euro guy who didn’t bother to think big, no electric cars, no solar cells, no focus on Mother Earth, just a bunch of sailing, bunch of sunny days on the sea. Plus, the guy spent most of his time in the south, really was the first Confederate. That’s probably unfair, cuz he didn’t invent the flag, but he would have fought with Lee for sure.
They never tell you if he had any trans sailors, if he knew about critical race theory, or was a threat to democracy. He probably was, cuz he worked for a king, wore skins like an insurrectionist. Notice he took no selfies, that’s suspicious.
Okay, so give the guy his due, he car jacked a couple of islands, got defunded, didn’t need carbon credits, cuz he used wind, but what else?
All the stuff after is his fault. The guy was like Trump before Trump, the American Dream before the American Dream, a bunch of errors, botches, failures – one or two successes, bringing Western civilization to the New World. Okay, big deal.
The real questions are still unanswered. Where’s the equity, why was he so insensitive, what were his pronouns, was he non-binary, did his men use litter boxes, why did they have unregistered guns, and why wasn’t he on Twitter – or was he kicked off?
As the History channel says: “Christopher Columbus undoubtedly changed the world. But was it for the better?” Right on, dope, FIRE, savage! Get it now? The guy’s just an example of what’s gone wrong, how great it was in 1491, and hey, maybe his relatives will compensate us. Whatdaya think? Let’s ask Biden. Happy Indigenous Day!”
Sometimes … keeping history in place, not erasing it, not rewriting it, not blaming it for the time in which it unfolded, but thinking – for a moment – about the courage, tenacity, boldness, and risk of those who persevered in their time, which is why we remember them, is worth doing. Columbus Day is one.