Columbus Day has always been a joke to me. There were already people on this continent when Columbus got here, so how can anyone find someone’s home and claim to have discovered it? And Scandinavian and Basque fishermen knew about this continent already, so how can something that has been discovered be discovered again? Therefore, the very idea of Columbus Day has been worth a laugh to me. That is until I read the below email from FCRC Chairman Matt Ames, which was sent out to Fairfax Republicans today (editor’s note: I added the photo). His argument is sound and I now believe in recognizing Columbus Day as a little more than just a chance to find a few solid deals at the local retail store.
Earlier this month, the Seattle City Council voted to celebrate “Indigenous People’s Day” instead of Columbus Day. Berkeley, California, did the same in 1992, as have other “blue” cities since. The rejection of Christopher Columbus is an especially revealing example of the anti-historical agenda of the “progressives” who control the Democratic Party.
Why is Columbus Day a holiday? Well, one reason is the quest for recognition by Italian-Americans. But the really important reason is that Columbus stands for the vision and courage and tenacity of every immigrant to this nation. He was in a sense our first immigrant – the first person to leave the Old World and, albeit by accident, land in the New. Every person who crossed the ocean in a leaky wooden boat (and they all leaked) made the same journey he did. Every person who passed through the Cumberland Gap, or settled the prairie, or took the Oregon Trail was another Columbus. When we honor him, we honor them. And because they built this country, when we honor them, we honor America.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with Indigenous People’s Day. If we want to honor the first inhabitants of this continent, and even acknowledge our mistreatment of them, we can and we should. But by denying Columbus his rightful place, the progressives reveal their true agenda. Their goal is not to enlighten with more accurate history, but to undermine our confidence by attacking our past.
Yes, Columbus was obsessed with glory and wealth. He was wrong about key facts, including the circumference of the Earth. Norsemen, and possibly Basque fishermen, were here before him. Yes, the Spanish conquest of the Americas was brutal, and our own treatment of the Indian nations has been anything but admirable. But none of this justifies rejecting his accomplishments. He had the dream, and he made it real.
Christopher Columbus – whatever his faults – deserves to be remembered with gratitude. So do the millions who came after him. And so does our great nation.
Fairfax County Republican Committee