As we sit back and ‘celebrate’ Columbus Day I think one should keep in mind that more than a few people had the gall to ask why I reprinted the essay put forth by Professor Ward Churchillwho laid down the facts about Columbus Day. Some felt by putting it out we were being divisive. They felt we were making things too racial and living in the past. Really? BS.. Here’s the reason why I put posted the Churchill article. You can read the article here: http://bit.ly/2z0E5v
All this morning, I heard newscast after newscast especially on the east coast where Columbus was touted as this revered explorer who led the way to the New World. Not one mention of the genocide he ushered in. Not one mention of him getting lost. It was all praises for a drunken sailor.
I couple that particular narrative of Columbus being a hero who sailed the ocean blue with the changes being advocated in Texas by members of its state board of education in history and social studies books where there’s a huge push to remove the already short mentions of iconic figures like United Farm Workers founder and Civil Rights activist Cesar Chavez and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall who successfully argued for the elimination of school segregation in the historic Brown vs the Board of Education. Marshall did this as a lawyer for the NAACP, before being appointed to the Supreme Court. The push is to replace Chavez and Marshall with the accomplishments of far right conservative icons Reverend Jerry Falwell and Newt Gingrich.
Now many of y’all reading this are saying to yourselves ‘Who care’s? After all, it’s a typical scenario one might imagine to happen in a state like Texas right? Wrong. Next time you open up one of your kids elementary school books, be sure to make note that Texas specializes in selling school books. It’s the country’s biggest exporter. So you could be in a far off place like New York, California or West Virginia and be reading revisionist history…
Topping all this off is ridiculous column that was passed along to me this morning. Read it, laugh and then take note. Wars are won by controlling the thinking of your opponent. People to the far political right clearly understand the importance of reaching impressionable minds early on and in controlled environments like school. If you don’t believe me, look at the crazy protests our racist far right friends held in Burlington, New Jersey this morning to protest elementary school kids singing a song praising President Obama during a Black History month celebration this past February. http://www.wtop.com/?nid=316&sid=1771576
Something to think about
Joe McQuaid: Unlike Halloween in Manchester, Columbus is feted on actual holiday
by Joe McQuaid
In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue
Happy Columbus Day. It was never a day off when I was going to school. And, yes, Columbus had long gone by then, so just forget the thought that when I was in school it was too soon to recognize the event’s importance.
This is one of those weird years when the day is actually observed on the date — unless you live in Manchester and we are talking about Halloween. Here, unlike in the rest of the free world, Halloween will not be celebrated on Saturday, Oct. 31.
As for today’s anniversary, it is generally believed to have been on or about Oct. 12 when Columbus and crew, aboard the Nina, the Pinta and the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, reached the Americas. Okay, I’m just kidding about the name of the last ship.
Although we didn’t get the day off from school when I was growing up, Columbus and the Santa Maria and the whole king and queen of Spain thing were a big deal. Editorial cartoons of the day were more likely to have an Indian looking at the white guys coming ashore and saying, “There goes the neighborhood,” than painting Columbus as a pillager and enslaver.
Some revisionist historians seriously hold that the Europeans were all bad guys who ruined the Americas, imported smallpox, stole gold and forced the savages to stop being savages and to share their smokes. The revise guys also like to speak of the “native Americans,” in reference to the folks Columbus ran into.
But those peoples’ ancestors had also come from elsewhere, and their claims to being here first are a bit like Columbus’ partisans saying he was the first white discoverer, which leaves no room for Leif Erikson or St. Brendan or Lord knows who else.
It is what it is. Nature abhors a vacuum, much as I abhor a vacuum cleaner, and the big wide world was not going to lie vacant for very long after sailors and explorers used their God-given brains and took the calculated risk that they would not fall off the edge of the earth or be devoured by sea monsters if they sailed west in order to get east.
There’s a line from the “Seinfeld” show that has Jerry and George arguing about their favorite explorer. George says DeSoto, for discovering the Mississippi River.
“Oh,” sneers Jerry, “like they weren’t going to find that anyway.”
Someone would have “found” the Americas, too. But Columbus is the guy who did it big time, without a GPS and even without Twitter or a Facebook page to spread the word.
Write to Joe McQuaid at firstname.lastname@example.org.