Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Columbus Day? Really?

Why anyone would openly celebrate Cristopher Columbus -- a money-grubbing pedophile, a rapist and the absolute definition of a genocidal maniac -- is beyond me.  So much misinformation has been dumped into the our educational DNA about him for so long that his "accomplishments" are some of the first bits of history that are collectively learned by rote (kind of like George Washington and that cherry tree) and hardly ever considered.  And then one day, you open a well-researched biography and are shocked beyond reason that Columbus is anyone's hero.

How can our leaders think that this country embodies freedom and justice and anything that's good when genocide is openly celebrated?  I know, I know -- there's a bad side to every historical figure. But this is pure evil. 

Can you imagine Germans celebrating Adolph Hitler with parades and festivals and whatnot? Unthinkable, right? Yet I've had conversations with Germans who have declared privately that Adolph wasn't all bad. He fixed the economy which was in ruins after World War I, he rebuilt the military, he united a nation, he built the Autobahn...

But I digress.

I don't think they're going to cancel on Columbus Day because it's a federal holiday and that would involve way too much hoopla and paperwork and whatnot.  I mean, have they ever undone a federal holiday? Is there a precedent for that?  If they did pull it off, it would go over like a lead balloon. Columbus Day is celebrated in South America, too. I wonder how Columbus Day celebrations are going in the Dominican Republic right about now.

Should Cortez the Killer have his own holiday, too?

I'm hopeful that in time, it'll turn into a holiday with no absolutely no participants. No parade attendees. No celebrations.  We'll all take the day off and stay in and watch Fellini movies. And Italians can throw themselves a party over something else.

In the meantime, get thee to a bookstore or a library if you're really broke (no excuses, folks) and dig into something on this reading list:
  1. They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America by Ivan van Sertima That's right, Italian white folks -- Africans were here way before the Vikings. (Ka-BOOM.)
  2. 1493: Uncovering The New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann
  3. A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn (This one is a basic.)
  4. A People's History of American Empire by Howard Zinn, Mike Konopacki and Paul Buhle (This is a very accessible, beautiful and ultracool graphic novel, an absolute must-read.)
  5. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen
...and in the spirit of a perpetual visual education for all, here's a video from howcast that sums up the Columbus Controversy neatly and a comic from The Oatmeal that breaks Columbus all the way down to some ugly truths.

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