Guess what? Yeah, today is Columbus day, celebrating the “official” discovery of the Americas by one Christopher Columbus on October 12th, 1492. Damn straight. Well, I know you are wondering, but today is the eighth. Yup, America went ahead and moved the celebration to the closest Monday to the 12th so we could have a three-day weekend, an official holiday. You know you’ve made it big when people get the day off to celebrate and remember you. It is such a big deal we only have three such holidays in the United States. Good ol’ Chris is one, Martin Luther King Jr. day is two, and yes, Washington’s birthday is three. I know, you’re saying that is President’s day on the 20th of February; in actuality this holiday is designated as “Washington’s Birthday” in section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code, which is the law that specifies holidays for Federal employees. Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it the policy of the United States to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law. Bam there you have it. But why all the complaining about Columbus. It seems that more and more people every year want to make this whole deal some protest about genocide, or stealing the land, or spreading disease.
Look, this area of the world was bound to have someone come across it sooner or later. It is not our fault, or the fault of the white man, western European man, hispanic man…whatever you want to call the enigma who was Columbus, that the people who landed on the shores were more technologically advanced than the indigenous people of the area. Just think about what Columbus did. He was going to sail around the world in a westerly direction to find another route to the orient. He didn’t know where he was going, didn’t know what he would find, how he would get there, if there was a there, whether or not the world was even round. The popular belief at the time was the earth was flat. He could be sailing to his doom for all he knew. He had no maps, no gps, no electrical power. Hell, he didn’t even have an accurate way of calculating his own longitude as the calculations used for that were only good on land at the time. Yet, he managed to travel around the world despite the odds and find something new and wonderful.
There are those that claim Columbus brought with him ethnic cleansing, genocide, dispossession, disease and despair for Native Americans that to a great extent prevails to this day and that he also set the stage for the forceful importation of millions of blacks from Africa as cheap slave labor. This is why Columbus Day has lost favor and has been persecuted as being politically incorrect.
Guess what, if Columbus hadn’t come, someone else would have and all those things would have followed him as well. People carry disease, and while the Western Europeans that entered this area brought small pox, typhus, cholera, and measles; but in all fairness the Native Americans gave Syphilis and tobacco smoking to take back to the Europeans. We can thank them for that. It is not the fault of Columbus these people had no natural immunity to such diseases, European doctors could barely treat these things for their people. How were they to know it would wipe out entire populations? Now the unhappy side effect of all these dead people was there was no one living on the land, so of course when people colonized they would take over an area that had been formerly worked and expand from there.
None of this is the fault of Columbus, not the death of the native Americans, nor the importation of black slaves. These are not his sins, nor are they mine. I bear no responsibility for the choices others have made. I am going to celebrate Columbus, the cojones he showed to discover America, and the end result of that discovery; the establishment of one of the greatest countries in the history of the world, the United States of America. You can bitch and moan about political correctness and genocide all you want, just don’t expect me to listen as I celebrate the accomplishments of that man.
Besides, the Indians all got casinos and tax-free cigarettes out of the deal so when you combine that with the syphilis I think we are probably close to even.