Monday, October 10, 2016

How Do You Feel About Columbus Day?

Columbus Day, which was an entirely innocuous holiday when I was a kid, has now become somewhat politicized. There are Columbus detractors and Columbus defenders.

I'll tell you how I feel, if you go the the Boston Herald's op-ed pages today.

Here's a handy link!

If you go there, I thank you. If you don't, I'll still like you (but I won't have anywhere near as much respect for you.)

See you there!

Soon, with more better stuff.


messymimi said...

When i taught about Columbus in a home-school history class, our conclusion was that he may have been a great man (in being an explorer and adventurer) but he was not a good man (in the sense of loving his neighbor as himself).

Shammickite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shammickite said...

You are quite right, Columbus Day in USA is Canadian Thanksgiving Day.... and also a day to celebrate the Blue Jays sweep of the Texas Rangers! On to the next series.....
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Jim! Enjoy the turkey sandwich.

Craig said...

I've always found Columbus to be a fascinating character. I mean, the entire present civilization(s) of both North and South America exist basically because of him, so his place in history is momentous in the extreme.

I've read maybe a half-dozen books on Columbus, ranging from stuff for the 'informed layman' to some pretty woolly scholarship. Columbus is a hard guy to get a good grip on, to say the least. Primary sources are maddeningly scarce for such an important historical player.

I tend to view the movement of the last few decades to 'discredit' him in the context of similar 'demythologizing' moves relative to the American founding in general. Of course, it's good to understand our past clearly; America was founded by men, not angels, but a lot of the stuff that has tended to get publicity in those recent decades has been a part of what I call the "Why America Sucks" movement, dedicated to the proposition that America is rotten to the core, and thus it is necessary to show that the Founders most especially were wicked men propogating evil across the face of the earth.

I tend to see it as more of a mixed bag, which is what you get from fallen, sinful human beings, who are nonetheless made in the image and likeness of God. We can argue all day long about Columbus, and produce examples from the meager resources available for both his goodness and his wickedness. And in that he is no different from all humans who have ever lived, myself included.

(And just to add one more log to the fire, one of the factors motivating Ferdinand and Isabella to fund Columbus was that they had just, earlier in 1492, expelled the last of the Moors from Spain; so they were in a celebratory mood, and they had a bit of spare cash laying around that had been earmarked for fighting the Moors.)

Sorry for the book-length comment; like I said, I've always been fascinated by Columbus. . . ;)

joeh said...

I stopped caring about Columbus day when I went to work and the Stock Exchange didn't close.

I find it hard to believe that Columbus with three ships of sailors could so treat the Indians, force them to bring gold (like there was gold o=all over to find...where is it now on the east coast?) and then simply capture them and take them home as slaves, these same Indians that were pretty good at fighting later in the wild west all the way to the late 1800's. I don't think so.

I think Columbus was lucky the Indians didn't just slowly slaughter his men if the wanted to...they had home field advantage.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

I have attempted to write a comment four different times.
Suffice it to say, I read 1491 and 1493 and they have given me a little more insight to the effects of ol' Chris (not Cranky) getting is destination interfered with.

Jackie said...

When we were in Spain, I was thrilled to see a statue of Christopher Columbus in the center of a street.... (I believe it was in Madrid.)
Studied about him in school here, but hadn't thought about other countries honoring him, as well. Makes sense that Spain would!

Juli G said...

If you ever come down this way, take the native american tour. Same history, VERY different story. We took it last year and my son said "Everything they taught us in school was a LIE!!!" :)

I posted a piece tonight you might find interesting... nostalgic even. Even though you're north shore, you may enjoy my rudimentary take on my south shore history.

Daryl said...

after reading all you piece in the 'papers and these comments .. i have to say i wish i had the day off to go buy some thanksgiving decorations