This year on Columbus Day, one that blue-collar American workers no longer celebrate with a day of The Price Is Right and Jeopardy reruns mixed in with dozing in and out of consciousness on the recliner, it can now be questioned if Christopher Columbus was really the hero we were taught he was in elementary school.
An article titled The truth about Christopher Columbus published by the Chicago Tribune and another titled Columbus in context: History shows he’s worth celebrating by the Tribune News Service had differing opinions.
This is the lead of The truth article:
“For the past 80 years, since Columbus Day became a federal holiday, we have celebrated an explorer who engaged in enslavement, outright theft and the genocide of this hemisphere’s indigenous people.” – Chicago Tribune
Well, damn. That’s tough to get around. Enslavement, outright theft AND genocide…and there’s a day celebrating this guy? Sounds pretty similar to another 20th century scumbag who shall not be named (not Lord Voldemort).
Columbus must have solved world hunger or something to make up the difference for all those atrocities…let’s see how Tribune News rebuttals:
“He was a great explorer, an intrepid adventurer, a man of fervent faith and a defiant leader who blazed a path to the modern world.” – Tribune News Service
Hm. So — Columbus was both an explorer and an adventurer (which is basically the same thing, right?), pushed his religion on the natives and claimed the land his.
Again, tough look if that’s what saves you from backlash of genocide and martyrdom.
But without Columbus maybe there is no modern world. No modern America with terrible Wi-Fi connection and enormous tuition rates at every college while wages are at a standstill. Thank you Columbus?
Maybe I’m being unfair. Let’s give Columbus one more chance…
“Columbus and his crew brought disease, stole precious resources and ultimately wiped out many indigenous island tribes, all in the name of claiming this side of the globe as the New World.” – Chicago Tribune
So is Christopher Columbus worth celebrating? History says, probably not. But I’m never opposed to a day off work or school, so, to Christopher Columbus, you remain a hero to many (and a villain to many more).