Christopher Columbus: hero or villain?
That deliberately misleading, no-win question is being asked to young students across the country.
Those choosing “villain” are shortchanged, as Columbus’ accomplishments are overshadowed by his “bad deeds.”
And anyone in the “hero” camp becomes hopelessly ensnared in the trap of political correctness. With their viewpoint often derided as condoning “racism,” students become pariahs among classmates and teachers, and are shamed for their independent thought.
When the free flow of ideas can no longer take place, and where retribution for speaking one’s mind is a real possibility, is it any wonder that we are graduating functional illiterates?
But indoctrinating an entire generation of children isn’t enough. For some, destruction and physical violence are preferred. And on Columbus Day in Philadelphia (America’s cradle of liberty) the radicals did not disappoint.
A statue of Columbus, already fenced in for protection from vandals, was desecrated, along with the History of Italian American Immigration Museum, as extremists graffitied them with “Genocide;” Rape;” “Stolen Land;” “Slavery;” and “Columbus = Mussolini = Trump = Fascism.”
Let’s get this straight. The same people who demonize Christopher Columbus for his “intolerances” think that the way to “correct” history is through intolerance.
Their hypocrisy is staggering, their actions counterproductive, and their message appalling.
An increasing number of cities throughout America are abolishing Columbus Day in favor of “Indigenous People’s Day,” which celebrates the history and contributions of indigenous cultures, while ruthlessly criticizing European settlers for colonialism and land grabs.
In Los Angeles, city officials covered up their statue of Columbus. Councilman Mitch O’Farrell vowed to give the explorer the boot, stating that renaming the holiday would give “restorative justice” to indigenous people and right a “historical wrong.”
So righting a historical wrong is best accomplished by committing more wrongs — namely, the whitewashing of history?
Without question, the Europeans and, subsequently, Americans, did not always do the right thing, especially to Native Americans. Atrocities were committed, and nothing can ever fully right those wrongs.
But America, despite the errors of its past, has shown a most remarkable resilience, more than any nation in history, to not just learn from its mistakes, but make things right and yes, better, for future generations.
Rather than needlessly re-opening old wounds, those pushing radical agendas should take a hard look at the everlasting contributions of both Native Americans and Europeans — including Columbus.
But they won’t.
In their revisionist Utopia, the white-Christian-Euro-male would not exist, since he is responsible for the world’s ills.
That mindset is, obviously, ignorant of history. But even more dangerous is how such intolerance evolves. It starts with calls for censorship and bans, morphs into protests where opponents are labeled bigots, and culminates with attempts not just to rewrite history. Statues and monuments are removed by overzealous government officials, and those that aren’t become targets for destruction. Most incomprehensible is when self-righteous protestors commit such crimes with impunity, as it emboldens the radical Left to up the ante.
The lack of condemnation to such acts legitimizes intolerance and further drives a dagger through civil discourse and the rule of law. As our monuments disappear, so too does our understanding of history. And as we ought to know, those who don’t know the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.
That concept is lost on the radical element which is, admittedly, gaining a stronger foothold in America each year.
Where does it end? If we take their litmus tests to their logical conclusions — that everyone from the Confederates to Columbus to anyone who ever owned slaves must be vilified and discarded — we must destroy most of our history. The Jefferson Memorial should be repurposed; Andrew Jackson must be removed from the twenty-dollar bill; the Washington Monument, and indeed the nation’s capital itself, should be renamed; and the Ivy League’s Brown University should close because it operated via slave-trade money. And yes, the World War II monument would have to come down because of our treatment of Japanese-American citizens in internment camps.
But a purge would not stop there. Every group that the “elite” finds offensive could be outlawed. For example, the company that made the iconic “Dukes of Hazzard” General Lee toy car, emblazoned with the Stars and Bars, ceased production in the name of political correctness.
Instead of bans, we should be striving to win the day with ideas.
Should there be an Indigenous People’s Day? Absolutely! We would all be better served by learning about Native American history and culture. And yes, their unfortunate struggles with Europeans and Americans should be prominent in those teachings. But Indigenous People’s Day and Columbus Day should not be pitted against one another. We are mature enough to celebrate both; to be fair, each should have its own celebration.
The radicals would have us think that all unsavory acts were committed solely by the Europeans. Not true. Native Americans warred with each other and usurped other tribes’ lands, as was the case with virtually every civilization in history.
And many black people were sold into slavery by black slave traders. But that doesn’t mean we should boycott every country so involved.
Conversely, the Americans and Europeans at the heart of the radicals’ scorn were the ones who saved the world from people named Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito, and Stalin.
The answer is not reparations, giving land back, or portraying historical figures in a one-sided way, eviscerating those of a certain ethnicity (and via guilt-by-association, their present day progeny).
Human beings are flawed, but they also possess the unique desire to better themselves. Rather than devolve into the basest of human behavior, let’s demonstrate the ultimate in tolerance by civilly discussing the good, and not-so-good, of history’s figures. We could start by putting their accomplishments and errors in proper context, free of absolutes and platitudes, so that our children can learn the most important lesson: truth.
As Americans, we owe that to both the Native peoples, and Christopher Columbus.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
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