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Three-day weekends are good.

But this one needs another reason for being.

Isn't it time we stop the disgrace that is Columbus Day?

As is astutely summarized by author Jack Weatherford here, and very well diaried by Kossack Winter Rabbit here, Columbus should not be considered a hero.

An important historic figure? Yes.

But no hero, and not deserving of his own holiday.

I know that in reality he was not acting in a manner all that out of the ordinary for his time.  Yet this does not, cannot, erase what we have learned since about the reprehensible nature of slavery, let alone genocide.   And knowing what we know today, believing what we claim to believe, about the rights of all humans, we cannot possibly make any serviceable excuse for celebrating the man as a heroic figure. To do so is an affront to all that America should or would stand for.

Like many Americans, I myself have some native American blood flowing in my veins, along with european strains, and really, who knows what else. Also like most Americans I was raised on a great many false images about the man for whom this Monday has been set aside. I believed them with admiration too.  Yet now, having long ago read the truth about what he did after landing here, it has been many years whereupon this day I just find myself with a sick feeling in my stomach.

To celebrate this day is to mock and disgrace the sacrifices made by every protester of the civil rights era, every soldier who ever defended the U.S., indeed every American, be they black, white, brown, yellow, red, or purple, who truly grasps and cares for the nation of America.

Originally posted to johnsonresult on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm just ticked off (4+ / 0-)

    because the post office is closed today...I want my books from amazon dammit!!!!!

    "We don't throw the first punch, but we'll throw the last." --Barack Obama, Oct. 6, 2008

    by Luthien Tinuviel on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:03:51 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for bringing this into the (6+ / 0-)

    forefront of our consciousness today.

    I've said this before, but at my university we used today as "Indigenous People's Day".  It was a time of mourning for what was lost and celebration of beautiful cultures... and that made the "holiday" far more worthwhile.

    We are all "That One". You know, with little pieces of America all in us.

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:05:15 AM PDT

  •  Well.... (3+ / 0-)

    the city of Berkeley, CA re-named this day "Indigenous People's Day" a while back.

    Meh.  For the vast majority of us, it's not even a holiday.  AFAIC, it's just another Monday in October.

    "When those who are accountable are right, they take the credit. When they're wrong, they take the heat. It's a fair exchange." - Lehman Bros ad ca. 1980s

    by Mehitabel9 on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:05:28 AM PDT

  •  You mean like many Americans CLAIM, (0+ / 0-)

    you're part Indian.

    Amazing how many Americans are part-Cherokee when you ask them to tell you which tribe.

    •  well (0+ / 0-)

      i was actually thinking more of all those i know of personally when i wrote that... and assuming there are a lot more like them.  but i get your point.  and i guess i shouldn't presume it.

      on the other hand though, the cherokee were very adapted to the colonialists' ways, moreso than almost any other tribe. this would no doubt lend itself to there being more intimate relations between them, ande thus a disproportionate number of folks with cherokee blood over other tribes.

      •  It might, but the truth is that (0+ / 0-)

        many Americans who claim to be part Indian are either wrong or lying... It's a way to take the cultural guilt off themselves... THEIR family couldn't have done anything bad to Indians because their family WERE Indians.

        It reminds me of something my Father once said, "I've met a lot of Germans since the war and so far, none of them have admitted to being Nazis."

        •  well i just found... (0+ / 0-)

          out that i'm part cree. and my family held slaves. the first i'm happy about, the second, a blight on my history. my cousin is doing a family history and has uncovered a lot of things good and bad about our past. and all along i thought i was just a left handed southern pollack/creole. i guess i'm more mush than crust.
          tung sol

          'cause you're the green manalishi with the two prong crown--Peter Green, Green Manalishi

          by tung sol on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:55:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's not a holiday at UW. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the dogs sockpuppet

    We do Veteran's day (I still think it should be armistice day) Nov 11th instead.

    John McCain is a Chode.

    by dnamj on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:07:37 AM PDT

  •  At hospitals, it's just another Monday. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And retailers, corporations, anywhere other than government, schools and banks.  The same with Presidents Day and ML King Day.  The latter two, however, are legitimate remembrance days.

    If Columbus Day is going to continue as a quasi-national holiday, I agree that it should become Indigenous Peoples Day.

  •  The thing I don't get is that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    he's not even the first European to "discover" America. They've been unearthing Viking ruins in New England and Newfoundland since the 1960's.

  •  oh god (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    go get a life. jeez.

    To celebrate this day is to mock and disgrace the sacrifices made by every protester of the civil rights era, every soldier who ever defended the U.S., indeed every American, be they black, white, brown, yellow, red, or purple, who truly grasps and cares for the nation of America.

    please get over yourself immediately. This is the stupidest thing I have EVER read on this site, and that's saying something.

  •  My sister works for a native american school (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in South Dakota; today is Native American Day there and on the reservations.

    "One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives." Mark Twain

    by fortuna on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:22:48 AM PDT

  •  This is the sort of thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That makes the left look silly. By the time the average American reaches adulthood, all of Columbus's faults and sins are fully understood.

    More to the point, there are few figures salvageable in American history. Daniel Boone, Kit Carson, George Washington, they're all a bunch of slave-holding genocidal rapists who should be hung in effigy and burned, if you really want to go there. I think most people don't.

    Maybe it's better to just let the traditional messaging on this alone and focus on the big picture, like getting our troops out of Iraq, stabilizing the economy, fixing healthcare, etc.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:26:16 AM PDT

    •  I don't know about the first part... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Raven, Dianna

      I think most Americans don't know anything about Columbus other than that he "discovered America" and that everyone else "thought the world was flat."

      Both are incorrect.

    •  It's a Big Deal With All the Natives I've Known (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Raven, Dianna

      And with immigration we're getting at least some increase in native populations from elsewhere in the Americas.

      I agree this particular moment is the wrong time to get into the issue, but on the other hand I don't see it going away.

      And BTW looking "silly" is suddenly not the risk for Democrats that it's been since Reagan.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:34:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's a reason for that, Goose (0+ / 0-)

        And BTW looking "silly" is suddenly not the risk for Democrats that it's been since Reagan.

        For the first time in my memory the Democrats are a unified and focused group with basic economic messages and simple, generalized solutions.

        We aren't doing the 25-point plan thing, the wonky thing, and we aren't representing a cobbled-together coalition of special interests each demanding a plank of the platform. This is a big reason why we're doing so well.

        Sure, we've got a great candidate, but I think it's very important to be a party that people want to join and can feel good about joining. We start up with the usual social issues stuff like "Down with Columbus Day" we're gonna lose votes.

        Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

        by The Raven on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:40:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  your assumption that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "By the time the average American reaches adulthood, all of Columbus's faults and sins are fully understood."

      could not be farther from the truth.

      and sweeping history under the rug in the name of "expediency" or whatever it is you are proposing, is precisely the same intellectually lazy attitude that helped make the war in iraq possible.

  •  just rename it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pete Rock

    Latin and Native America's Day

    (Italians spoke Latin long ago, and Columbus was only Genoese)

    Obama; raisin' McCain in the Bush!

    by gaspi on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:41:59 AM PDT

  •  In fairness, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pete Rock

    I believe the holiday is meant more to honor the spirit of exploration and discovery than the man himself.  Of course, there's little doubt the natives of this continent would have been far happier if the guy had never shown up at all.

    I think it's a great opportunity to examine all of the impacts European colonization have had on North America.  It's good to see this subject brought to the fore at least once a year.

    While we're all waving our "we're #1" foam fingers while we cheer ourselves for the successful genocide that followed Columbus' voyages, we immigrants truly should re-examine what our predecessors did here.

    Barack Obama: One house, one spouse.

    by rb608 on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09:50:52 AM PDT

  •  Illegal Immigrant (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dianna, johnsonresult

    Since Columbus was an illegal immigrant, shouldn't this be Illegal Immigrant Day?

  •  It is used as an Italian American Holiday (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Columbus is a handy one (with the banks and Post Office closed) to use as a counterpart to St Patrick's. That's the zeppoli/ San Guiseppe, the ethnic pride thing to compete with the Irish green beer, soda bread and parades.

     Italian princes and investors didn't even care for Columbus. He had to go to Spain and Queen Isabella to finance his voyages of "investment" and discovery, thanks to the Spanish.

     The irony is the Spanish were far more successful than the Italians in the New World, think how many Italian speaking colonies turned into independent countries compared with the Spanish speaking? That's
    right, NONE.

     Columbus is a last stand for them, compared with Ponce de Leon, Pizzaro, Cortez, (and really the same sort of conquering tradition) it isn't a great
    holiday by any means.

     Far better it continue to be replaced by some
    thing more up to date and worthy of a commemoration.

     The original indigenous peoples getting their due after being suppressed and the targets of genocide for so many years. That's a worthy trend.

     There are many more deserving Italians and Italian cultural contributions deserving a salute than old Christoforo  Columbus just in the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Politics, art, science, movies...all sorts of wonderful things Italian and COLUMBUS is the 'icon' of Italy( in America)? Garibaldi, Galileo,
    Lollabrigida, Ferrari, Italian immigration to America
    after the civil war....and we have to honor Columbus?

     Time to retire his legend and retool, update all the worthy  contributors from Italy who are legion and helped BUILD America, not simply  dispossess
    and marginalize its original inhabitants.

    What a crock! History stopped 500 years ago....not!

    To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield. (1843 high school motto, Rhode Island).

    by Pete Rock on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 10:00:43 AM PDT

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