Monday, October 12, 2015

1492 And All That

Happy Columbus Day.  Who would have thought fifty years ago it would be so controversial?

The celebration has been around in the United States one way or another since the mid-1800s.  There was sentiment against it back then due to anti-immigration and anti-Catholic feelings.  That was eventually overcome and the day has been celebrated nationally since 1937.

But now, many see Columbus as a symbol of colonialism, slavery and genocide, and some historians note he wasn't a particularly nice guy.  Some states refuse to recognize the holiday.

Well, nobody's perfect.  We celebrate our Founders, and they were certainly flawed. Our newest national holiday celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.--a great man, but far from perfect himself. (And yet how would those who won't recognize Columbus Day treat those who wouldn't recognize MLK Day?) When we celebrate such people, we celebrate the best in them, and the best we aspire to.

As such, Columbus Day is a celebration of the spirit of exploration, as well as a celebration of the Italian people.  That people in 1492 don't live up to our moral standards today isn't a good enough argument--in fact, it's a blinkered one. (Even more blinkered are the thoughts of opponents on the meaning of exploration, as well as how the world works, but that's for another post.)

So have a nice day. Kiss an Italian, but don't go to the bank.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need more 3 day weekends to overcome the protestant work ethic.

5:44 AM, October 12, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Columbus was a Catholic.

8:43 AM, October 12, 2015  

Post a Comment

<< Home

web page hit counter