San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors just voted to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples day as a means of honoring those people — those Indians-slash-Native-Americans-slash-Aboriginals-slash-indigenous-slash-what-have-you people — who lived in this country prior to its European settlement.
But why? Many in America already celebrate Native American Heritage Day, the Friday after Thanksgiving. Some states, like Maryland, even recognize this as a legal holiday and treat it the same as Thanksgiving — a day which in itself can already be celebrated as a nod at the early contributions of Native Americans.
This political correctness, this PC campaign, has to stop.
San Francisco’s board vote seems designed not so much to recognize Native Americans, as much as it is to erase Christopher Columbus from America’s DNA.
And on that score, the vote’s not entirely surprising. Leftists have been chomping to strip Columbus from any seat of national honor for some time.
In fact, the erasure of Columbus is just part and parcel of a steady progressive-fueled degradation of U.S. history that’s been taking place for some time, hitting at everything from historical monuments to mountains. And it’s a campaign that if left unchecked, will ultimately result in a whitewashing of America’s noble DNA — and a subbing in of a national identity rooted squarely in shame.
The upcoming generations will be taught that America is nothing but a whites-only club, one that snubs women, the poor, the indigent and the suffering, and that patriotic pride in ye olde U.S. of A. is both misguided and unfounded.
Americans already suffered eight years of this head-hanging despondency under Barack Obama, who opened his presidency with apologies to the Muslim world and then spent the next eight years saying sorry for America’s greatness to anyone who would listen. Do we really need a nation filled with like-minded citizens?
U.S. history is rooted in battles and blood and barbarities and complex decisions by complex men and women who can’t be collected into a nice little box and presented for historical records as This or That. It’s not that neat. It’s not that simple.
It’s not even that pretty.
The history of Columbus, as President George W. Bush wrote in a presidential proclamation in October of 2009, is complete with exploits of his “bold expedition[s]” and “pioneering achievements.” But it’s also a history that’s tainted by reports of forced labor and forced Christian conversions of the indigenous people. That’s an uncomfortable fact — and one that’s led for the liberal call to wipe out Columbus Day as a national holiday in America.
That would be a mistake.
If nothing else, Columbus Day gives rise to national conversations about the Age of Discovery and the facts versus fictions of America’s founding. If the goal is to blot out the bad and only recognize those without fault, well then, Indigenous Peoples Day, with all its rich histories of tribal warfare, wouldn’t even meet that standard.
Erasing history, whitewashing history, swapping out historical holidays and monuments for more politically correct and politically sensitive holidays and monuments, does nothing to erase the truth. The past cannot be changed; it can only be learned from and used as a tool for change. And that, after all, is why we have monuments and historically-based holidays and national days of remembrance in the first place, yes?
Columbus Day should stay — as should Native American Heritage Day. In America, a melting pot with a rich history of both dark and light natures, certainly there is plenty of room for both.
Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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