Happy Columbus Day

 

With the 2008 election, Columbus Day has come around without a fuss. You wouldn’t even know today was a holiday. (Except for the banks being closed.)

However, I was reading a story from last year about a Columbus Day parade in Denver that was disrupted by protesters who claim Columbus was responsible for the killing and displacement of thousands of native Americans.

The protesters spilled fake blood and plastic baby doll parts (???) onto the street in front of the parade route.

Protesters also claim Columbus was a slave trader, and therefore we should not celebrate his arrival into the New World. Native Americans believe that Christopher Columbus is the cause of “White Men” coming to America and destroying the land that they knew.

I am kind of partial to Columbus. I, being an American whose grandfather came from Italy, would like to hold onto this national day. Some people, when they think of Italians, they think of the Mafia, Mussolini during WW2, and pizza. (Yes, there is that whole Roman Empire “thing”, but the technology obtained from the Roman Empire is overshadowed by the brutality of the day.)

So, Columbus was one Italian man who went exploring and found America. You can see the pride I might have in that..??

OK..

Maybe Columbus wasn’t the first. Maybe the Vikings found Canada long before Columbus sailed across the Atlantic. But the Vikings didn’t keep very good records.

That would make Columbus the first person to find the New World and actually write it down and tell people about it. (Still a source of pride.) Communication skills are important..!!

Today, as some American schools add a Muslim “foot bath” and a “Ramadan day”, I would like to see this one day- Columbus Day, continue on into the future.

 

Native Americans

who hate Columbus claim he “started it all.” Columbus’ discovery led to thousands of “white men” coming here and taking over.

That is not necessarily true.

 

Columbus may never had been granted ships and supplies to make this journey if it wasn’t for one thing..

Radical Islamic Muslims were trying to take over the world.

 

The year was 1453, Terrorist Muslims had taken over Egypt and Constantinople. These terrorists would kill anyone who ventured from West to East. (By land or by sea) Europeans had been able to trade goods with the East for hundreds of years. But now, with radical Islam controlling the trade routes and killing those who would not convert to Islam and pay tribute, European’s were being choked off on supplies.

This is the only reason Columbus found a backer, Spain, to fund his “wacky idea” of sailing around the earth.

 

So if Native Americans want to blame “the cause” of Columbus sailing to America, it would be more correct to say “the cause” was radical Islam trying to take over the world and kill people who didn’t convert to Islam. This forced white men to look for a different route.

(That is, if we want to spend time pointing fingers at each other on who is responsible for the United States and Native Wars. I believe Columbus would be way down on that list.)

Native Americans believe Columbus was a slave trader, and therefore we should not celebrate his journey.

Columbus traded goods by sea, all around Europe. He may have traded slaves as well. It was a terrible thing, but it was accepted in those days. Europeans had slaves. Muslims had slaves. Even a few of the founding fathers owned slaves. The good that these people accomplished can outweigh the evil practices that were common.

Let me put it another way…

Some Native American tribes believed it was OK to sell off your daughter to another family for land and horses. This was called (a type of) Marriage, but the daughter had no say in it. It was a type of slavery. Trading a human for horses and land.

I am sure today Native Americans do not believe it is OK to sell off a daughter. I do not degrade Native Americans for taking part in a practice that was legal hundreds of years ago.

After all, who knows what activity we take part in today, that will be judged “immoral” one hundred years from now? Hopefully, that future generation will see the good that we accomplished and not dwell on our ignorance.

Which brings us back to Columbus Day…

 

This modern culture that we live in seems to be obsessed with digging up dirt on someone to destroy his or her image. We do it with political figures and celebrities. We have also begun this character assassination on historical figures.

Is there a real human named “Santa Claus?” There never was an actual “Lady Liberty.” None the less, we hold these icons dear.

Beyond the human

Christopher Columbus, with all his failings, is the spirit of people who boarded wooden ships and sailed across the ocean, with only the wind for power. Defying the common belief that “it couldn’t be done..”

 

Columbus Day

is the celebration of exploration. Defying danger. Doing things that people believe cannot be done.

We forget sometimes, just how dangerous that journey was.

 

So I leave you with the words of Christopher Columbus.

 

The year was 1502

It was Columbus’ fourth journey to the New World. Of the 30 Spanish ships in the Governor’s fleet, 29 ships sank and over 500 men died at sea. Columbus’ ship survived. 1502 was a terrible year for hurricanes. Just a few months later, Columbus found himself in another hurricane.

Columbus wrote this passage in his journal:

“..For nine days I was as one lost, without hope of life. Eyes never beheld the sea so angry, so high, so covered with foam. The wind not only prevented our progress, but offered no opportunity to run behind any headland for shelter; hence we were forced to keep out in this bloody ocean, seething like a pot on a hot fire. Never did the sky look more terrible; for one whole day and night it blazed like a furnace, and the lightning broke with such violence that each time I wondered if it had carried off my spars and sails; the flashes came with such fury and frightfulness that we all thought that the ship would be blasted. All this time the water never ceased to fall from the sky; I do not say it rained, for it was like another deluge. The men were so worn out that they longed for death to end their dreadful suffering…”

Christopher Columbus- 1502

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