We have safely passed the rocky shoals of another Columbus Day in spite of that shrill and persistent nattering on the fringe political Left about the evils of “The White Eyes.”
Having grown out of this self-righteous chrysalis at puberty I remain casually bemused by the persistence of this anti-empirical nonsense. One can certainly forgive such historical histrionics in the adolescent brain which is still groping its way toward intellectual and emotional clarity, but when one hears full grown people saying such things as: “It’s Columbus Day. Thanks again for five hundred years of oppression…”et cetera, ad nauseum, it must be confronted.
Look, no one still believes Columbus discovered America. We know the Vikings were here 400 years before him and perhaps others landed on our shores as well. Any disinterested student of history knows the ancient world was a far from static place. Ancient peoples were just as adept at circumnavigation as sailors in the Renaissance. Many ancient Amerindian peoples like the Red Clay People of the far northeast disprove the quaint notion that Indians couldn’t tack with the best of them.
But it is also still true that Columbus did sail from Europe to this hemisphere in boats most of his detractors would be afraid to ride in and he did land here. No less eminent a scholar of stride than Thomas Waller opined that “He used rhythm for a compass.”
The Italian community takes great pride in Christopher Columbus’ achievement. We honor him with a day. It is not tantamount to erecting a concentration camp, filling it with blind children, and setting the place afire. It is a day for a portion of our population to celebrate one of their own.
The Amerindian peoples of our country are free to do the same. It baffles me why there is no Tecumseh Day, no Seneca Day or for that matter, Pontiac Day or Little Turtle Day, but that is their affair and none of my own.
Oppression, murder, torture, wanton destruction are not pastimes of the rich, the poor, the adventuresome, the pious or “the white eyes.” They are cornerstones of human behavior. All peoples in all cultures exhibit them. Yes, even Indians. The list of their cruelties and depredations is as long and ugly and sad as everyone else’s. The Jamestowne Massacre of 1622, the Iroquois Massacre of Wappingers and Tappans, The Schenectady Massacre. You can read the grisly details if you have nothing better to do.
I find it ironic that the same people who condemn Columbus for living in the world he lived in are more than infatuated with The Mafia and that Italian stereotype . I’m sure they would all turn out for a Gangland Day. After all it’s cool to march with the politically correct killers.