What's the Right Way to Observe Columbus Day?

Comments

1
The same way you celebrate Osama Bin Laden Day. You don't.

Italians are masters of food and moved the Renaissance forward more than any other European nation/culture. As such, Italians do not need to celebrate the discoveries of butchers and murderers simply because they were also Italian.
2
There are 2 problems with the "Europeans were genocidal maniacs" line of reasoning:

1) The European principalities/cities/nations fought huge wars among each other, all the way though the first half of the 20th century for political, religious, and ethnic reasons. Peasants and common people were considered expendable until very recently, even if they shared the racist views of their Kings regarding non-Europeans. The Catholics and Protestants tortured each other and attempted purges against each other repeatedly.

2) The Indigenous Peoples fought among each other as well. Wars of subjugation and extermination were commonplace. The more vicious tribes, the Aztecs for example, brutalized their neighbors so extensively that they allied with the Spanish to escape ritual torture and servitude. This is no way excuses the atrocities of the Spanish in the New World, but an honest look at the pre-Colombian Empires reveals a number of superstitious, bloody regimes. Obviously there were peaceful tribes who suffered at the hands of the Europeans, as well as at the hands of other tribes, and this is a sad part of history. Tribal societies *can* be very cruel, even if they aren't as organized as colonial powers. Take a look at the Middle East.
3
Neither of those facts are relevant to the European Genocide of Native Americans.

Europeans killing Europeans does not excuse or justify Europeans killing Native Americans. There is no "perspective exemption". That line of logic is the most horrendous form of moral relativism. Likewise, Native Americans killing Native Americans does not justify Europeans killing Native Americans.

Bad behavior does not justify bad behavior. Even Bill o' Reilly knows that (or so he claims).
4
Oh come now, who wasn't a genocidal maniac back then?
5
News flash. Indians weren't peaceful and harmonious with their neighbors before this hemisphere was civilized by Europeans. Indians were in fact canibals and practiced human sacrifice. Aztecs would rip out hearts while the poor bastards were still alive. North American Indians had no written language or even the wheel. There should be a holiday where Indians rightfully thank whites all day long for coming here.
6
I didn't know indigenous people (tribes) killed each other. I couldn't possibility celebrate indigenous day.
7
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.
8
Italians have given world knowledge and culture far more than indigenous peoples living in what is now called America. When Columbus landed, the indigenous people--always warring against each other--had not even invented the wheel.
9
@8 and others, so it's OK to murder people if they haven't invented the wheel?
11
@libertine #3
There weren't any "Europeans" as a cultural identity. Each group native to that region had their discrete ethnic and religious identity. For some reason, the leftist, revisionist history portrays them as one homogeneous group, like modern Americans. These "Europeans" you refer to were often at war with each other, and might still war against each other again. Ukraine, anyone? Remember the Bosnian War?

The French and Indian War, which preceded the American Revolution, was a tangled mess of hostilities between non-native, and native, factions. Spanish sea power, the Armada, which reigned almost 2 centuries before, emerged during an era of bloody struggle between the warring factions in Europe. All these groups considered their enemies to be swine and killed them with racist glee. Sorry, it wasn't a bunch of "Don Drapers" conspiring behind glasses of scotch and making racist jokes from their suburban homes from a shared psychological space of Euro-American "whiteness". Europe was a bloody, violent mess, of competing sovereignties, with violence continued here until we endeavored to establish a new system of government here, flawed as it was and continues to be.
13
If Italians need their own holiday of ethnic celebration, why not rip off the Irish and celebrate the feast of their own patron saint, Francis of Assisi, on October 4.
14
Foreigner who went around to different countries looking for government handouts.
15
@14
"14 Foreigner who went around to different countries looking for government handouts."

LOL! That's pretty good. No kidding. Belly laugh!

If he was a violent moocher, then the Left should really embrace him, since that's their angle most the time.
16
Anyone who would prefer a tribal society where human sacrifice is the norm is welcome to leave the Americas and Rule of Law which Columbus and Western Civilization instilled on these continents.

Imagine Dan Savage making a case for Gay Marriage at the foot of Montezuma's throne.

17
I'm assuming #5 is satire. No one who reads slog could have their head that far up their ass, right? Either that or the guy also thinks African Americans should be super thankful for their trip to America and the blessings of white education. All this talk about how violent this or that culture was misses the point. Did Columbus's achievements merit a holiday named for him? He was a canny capitalist who took a risk and it paid off. So what. He was also a ruthless exploiter of indiginous peoples, a cruel and sadistic man. Yecch. Name that holiday something else.
18
" At this point, October 12 has basically turned into a national day of disagreement."

No, doesn't come up most places. People are too busy trying to do the right thing today than worry about who was a dick 500 years ago.
19
@17 If you think all cultures are equally valid you're welcome to jump around in the dirt with feathers or bang on a drum spouting gibberish the next time you need emergency medical care. The discovery of the new world led to the creation of the USA, the greatest thing that's ever happened to civilization anywhere. Also, yes if I was black I'd be grateful I was born in the USA instead of the AIDS infected toilet known as Africa.
20
@Supreme Ruler Of The Universe

"Anyone who would prefer a tribal society where human sacrifice is the norm is welcome to leave the Americas and Rule of Law which Columbus and Western Civilization instilled on these continents...Imagine Dan Savage making a case for Gay Marriage at the foot of Montezuma's throne."

You're really nailing it here. The Left relies pretty heavily on the restraint that most Christians show when confronted with something that is morally repugnant to them. In other times, and other places (Africa, Middle East), they wouldn't dare to smear their feces all over the prevailing religious or tribal tradition; because if they did they would suffer horribly.
21
I find this all rather tiresome. Aren't all holidays pretty much cynical ploys to buy votes? Yes, but we get the day off, so...

In sum, meh.
22
#11, bull crap there was no singular European cultural identity in 1492. This is the time of The Spanish Inquisition. The European cultural identity at the time was Catholic, Anti-Semitic, Anti-Muslim, Anti-Pagan, and Anti-Roma. If it wasn't, The Crusades and the The Inquisition never would have happened. Your sense of history is quite poor, I fear. The Bosnian War further proves my point, as it was again the European cultural identity attacking Muslims. Your very examples agree with me.

Bringing up the French and Indian War is a poor attempt to obfuscate your logical incompetence.
23
@19 When did I say anything about "all cultures being equally valid"? Anyone with a brain (you have one of those, right?) and an ounce of empathy condemns violence and genocide wherever it occurs. But this isn't a contest about what continent had the most cruelty. While Aztecs in the Americas were cutting out beating hearts, Europe was burning women alive and breaking men on the rack. You argue that Columbus's discovery led to the creation of the USA, "the greatest thing that's happened to civilization anywhere," but that founding happened amid the slave trade, and our early economic rise rested on the backs of black people we kidnapped from their homeland as well as red people whose homeland we stole. You gloss over the slave issue by saying that yes, you'd be grateful as a black person to be born here and charmingly call Africa a "toilet," but I doubt you would have enjoyed slave life or the Trail of Tears. Again, the point is this: Does Columbus deserve a holiday in his honor? Nope.
24
I think if you tried to convince a Huguenot that they were the same as a Castilian, it would be a funny time machine farce ending very unhappily. If you're making the case that they *all* loathed the "others", and that this made for some shared identity, then you'll need more than the Crusades. Are the tribes native to this region all "the same"? No, they are not, and in my experience many of the tribes still hold on to acrimonies going back a over a century.

The Inquisition was an attempt TO CREATE homogeneity and order in places where there were disparate, regional customs and heresies. To the extent that it was successful, well, see the Protestant Reformation, which was not only a religious revolt but also a Germanic one, against the Roman Church. Have a look at the formation of the Anglican Church, or the English Civil War.

What am I obfuscating? This continent was war torn before Columbus, and it continued to be, albeit on a much larger scale, after his time.
26
#24, a continental cultural identity does not require complete homogeneity. Don't be obtuse. The Inquisition was the will of the masses enforcing the continental cultural homogeneity that had already occurred. You are confusing cause and effect, which is pretty easy to do considering your level of knowledge in history.

This continent was not war torn before Columbus. Can the hyperbole. Native Americans were incredibly peaceful per capita when compared to Europeans of Columbus' era. Even including the sacrifices of the Aztecs and the occasional slave taking/selling tribes, North and South America both were bastions of peace and harmony when compared to Europe. I've never heard of an Aztec Hundred Years War, or of the Aztecs fighting multiple wars on multiple fronts at the same time.
27
"Even if Columbus had been a swell guy, its origins are super-gross: President Roosevelt made today a federal holiday in the 1930s, a clever ploy to buy votes from Italian Americans."

What is so gross about that? I am happy to sell my vote to any politician that increases the number of federal holidays. The subject is irrelevant, I'll be fishing.
28
I'm not observing the day, while coincidentally drinking some Icelandic vodka. Hmmm, wasn't it the Norsemen who were the first "modern" Europeans on these shores?

Brooklyn's Quakers are actually celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day.

I wouldn't call Columbus a genocidal madman. He certainly was the wrong man at the wrong time in the wrong place with the wrong germs, though. If that wasn't bad enough, it was a massive misfortune for the peoples of the Americas that he lived to return and report on his voyage. Not to mention, he was a complete idiot to the end, thinking he had reached India.
29
Oh, now this is funny:
The same people would repeal the 2nd Amendment because of spree shooters only think large body counts (in 10k's or 100k's) amount legitimate "warfare". Hell, to you folks a harsh joke is a microaggression, so I can't imagine your reaction witnessing a actual small raiding party hitting their neighbors for women or prestige. The horror!

So, yes, there was a 100 Years War? I guess you think that supports your case that the folks over there back then were all "in it together".
30
Man, the RWNJ's SLOG contingent are really out in force today.

I guess they got the day off or something; probably the reason they're so adamant about wanting to keep Columbus Day on the calendar. Imagine their squalls of outrage against "fascist, freedom-hating libruls (sic)" if Indigenous Peoples Day really caught on and their HR Departments just decided it wasn't worth the bother anymore and shoved October 12th off the list of authorized company holidays?
31
#29, I said can the hyperbole. There is a difference between warfare and war torn. Warfare was not alien to Native Americans. That is obvious. But just because warfare exists does make a whole continent "war torn". There was no continental strife in North America. Aztecs had not declared the Salish Sea their land, or the Inupiat inhuman beasts deserving of slavery. That kind of continental level aggression is a hallmark of the European cultural identity of the time.

Go read a history book before you reply. You're rapidly becoming not worth anybody's time.
33
I just love the brain dead meme flowing through many of these posts that [Fill In the Blank: Italians, Spaniards, Indigenous Peoples of the Western Hemisphere, et al.] slaughtered and enslaved each other, so what's the big deal about celebrating #Genocide with national holidays?
34
@31

Well, you seem to be ignorant of the warring tribes on the East Coast back then. The subjugated tribes were considered "women" by their conquerors, and the victors threw their lot in with the traders and colonists for a fast buck. Once again, if you read the history prior to the Revolutionary War, a more complex picture emerges of the groups competing there at the time.

Also, with regards to the crimes of the fledgling United States against the natives, versus those of Canada and Mexico, I think you'll find that while ours here are a piece of shameful national history, the Mexican racism and oppression (as well as in other Central/S.American countries) of their native population is still so great that THEY MIGRATE HERE when they can; because we meanie gringos are just so cruel with our jobs, health care, and rule of law.
35
*passes artisanal sea-salted popcorn*
36
#32, please try reading my post. I was referring to multiple wars on multiple fronts at the same time. Aztec warfare, especially during The Flower Wars, was a ceremonial affair invilving relatively few combatants. It was nothing like European mass bloodshed.

#34, I am ignorant of nothing of the sort. I admitted a relatively small number of Native tribes were involved in slavery. You can point out all the exceptions in the world, it doesn't change the truth that the general life of the average Native American was completely devoid of conflict prior to Europeans landing in 1492.
I don't think I turned this into a US vs. Canada/Mexico argument. I thought I was sticking to the 15th Century.
Stop posting. Start reading some history texts Mad_at_Dad. Everyone else in the discussion is a grown up.
37
Once again, they weren't "Native Americans" as a single group. If you're talking about the way of life in the more peaceful parts of the continent, I'll certainly agree some places were better than others, but the fact is the strongest, most influential tribes on this continent valued bravery in battle above all else. You know how the Mandan selected their chief? It's interesting, and not particularly peaceful. The introduction of the horse and firearms was exploited by the more warlike tribes for use initially against their traditional enemies to increase power and prestige.

Yes, Libertine, somehow the mass slaughter in Europe proves that they were all on the same side and shared an identity, rather than being divided by geography, culture, and ethnicity.

38
#37, you continue to be ignorant of the concept of a continental culture. Until you get a much better education, you're only dumbing down the people in this thread.

Until you get a clue, I'm done with you.
39
Colombo-Geronimo Day is a compromise that seems to be gaining strength.
40
What's the point of Columbo Day anyway? Most people don't get a day off work, the ol USA was fine without it up until the 30's when it was made official, and how do you celebrate someone 'discovering' a place where millions of people already lived? And he was lost and thought this was east asia.

I've never understood the passion behind celebrations of any historical ethnicitiy - all cultures have great inventions and icons and all cultures did amazingly cruel things to others in their existence. There are even Buddhist 'terrorists'/'freedom fighters' in Burma and other places. Bhuddists, for christ's sake!

The fact that I have some historical ethnic ties or blood of culture 'X' or 'Y' has no bearing - good or bad- on the accomplishments or short-comings I have in my own life.

The sooner people get over that thinking (Italian-american, Irish-american, Afro-American) the better off they will be. Yes, a bit of nostalgia and appreciation of some things is understandable, but it can get ridiculous and nauseous quite quickly. Yes, my grandfather escaped the Fascists in Italy in 1929. And...that's about it. He worked hard when he got here. We ate a lot of italian food growing up. It was his journey - not mine. It doesn't entitle me or mandate me to any kind of behavior or rewards or sense of accomplishment because of it.

I would celebrate Ital-American day and/or Indigenous People Day if I can get a paid day off work. Otherwise, I'll call it Monday.

41
@30: It's even more hilarious that they're referencing JB, TDMFOTP, as "really nailing it."
42
True freedom will come to America when there is no longer a need to be politically correct.
43
The reason there was a Columbus Day was because of the erroneous belief that he discovered America. Since everyone who isn't a moron now know that he didn't - he wasn't even the first European who landed on this continent - there is zero reason to give him a holiday. Even Washington and Lincoln used to have to share one holiday (Washington's birthday Feb 22nd, Lincoln's Feb 12th), and they even lost that since President' Day is for honoring all the presidents now. Is that vile sadistic psychopathic thief Columbus - who wasn't even an American citizen - more important than Washington, Adams, Lincoln, Roosevelt etc? If we want to celebrate real life Games of Thrones-type monsters, why not give holidays to Vlad the Impaler, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane and Caligula?
44
@42 Sigh, you're a good person, stop watching Faux News. Their bigotry will rot your brain and eats up all that is decent and loving in your character. Stay away from the Iagos.
45
@44: Well, thank you, but I get my information from a variety of networks. I'm currently saving bucks by not having a cable TV subscription but I do stream FOX clips, MSNBC clips, NBC and so on. I really do enjoy watching Rachel Maddow, actually, When you consider that essentially all news is just news and is served to the wire services and broadcast by the networks, it's simply a matter of enjoying nibbles at the smorgasbord of punditry and editorials.

But the statement in 42 is sincere. In the final analysis, we don't need political correctness - we just need what we've had all along - good manners and civility.
46
@42: There's no need to be politically correct; it's just considered uncouth and improper to say patently offensive things when there is less-charged terminology that could be used to make equivalent statements without insulting or attacking people for no real reason. The day that the American people stop caring about people saying hella racist or sexist stuff is not going to be a particularly good day.
47
@42

You have the legal right to use the n-word here, so go ahead.
48
#45, Political correctness is good manners and civility. You malign that which you support. People roll out the PC label to attack civility they do not wish to tolerate. Much like the SJW label, a person's true nature is revealed in the words they choose to use as insults.
49
I work for the Alaska government and instead of taking Columbus day off we ignore it completely and instead take 10/18, Alaska Day. (Observed this year on 10/19). And there are some seriously nusto people commenting on Slog these days...