Columbus Day came and went with the usual bellyaching about it. Several cities around the country celebrate ‘Indigenous Peoples Day’ as a counter but that’s just plain silly, and I’ll tell you why in a moment. First, let’s get a clear picture of who Christopher Columbus was and who he wasn’t.
By all accounts and by admission of his detractors, Christopher Columbus never set foot in what is now called the United States of America. He landed in the Bahamas. Whatever terror he wrought on indigenous peoples was certainly not wrought upon American Indians. He never saw any. Excerpts from his own diary paint a picture of a man who pretty much had his way with the people he encountered. That was par for the course in his day.
What’s implied by all this Columbus-hate is he ushered Europeans into the Americas and that’s somehow horrible. It’s as if the Indians were just sitting around making beads and smoking peyote until the white man came and systematically slaughtered them. Ever heard of the Iroquois Nation? It was a confederacy of five Indian nations that subjugated other tribes by means of violent force. Those it didn’t kill or absorb into the nation it made them their slaves. Others it used for ritual sacrifice. Yeah, they tortured and killed people to appease the gods.
Point being that raping, pillaging, and plundering were standard for Columbus’ day. But that’s not why we remember him. We remember Columbus because he opened up the New World and we should drop to our knees in gratitude. You see, it doesn’t matter what your heritage is, your ancestors either chose to come here or were dragged in chains. Either way, we’re here and there’s no place quite like it.
It’s not that we’re all genetically superior to everyone else in the world. My ancestors are Spanish and I’m no better than my present-day counterparts in Spain. I’m just glad I’m here and not there. Even those of you who are American Indian, you’re much better off than your ancestors, despite the injustices. That is, unless you think you’d be better off living in a teepee with no electricity and no bathroom. Because that’s exactly where you’d be if the Europeans hadn’t come to America.
What makes us different from the rest of the world is the concept from our forefathers of freedom and self-government. That was a radical notion in its day. We take it too much for granted. While the rest of the world was under the rule of kings and tyrants, we were forging a brand new way. A country that presupposed we were all created equal, not born into classes we could never escape. Most people alive today in the United States really have no concept of how different their lives would be had they not been born here.
It’s a place where migrants could come and create things they could never create in their home countries. It was freedom and liberty and capitalism that gave us most of the wonderful inventions we now enjoy. Things like air conditioning, airplanes, motion pictures, breakfast cereal, computers, the washing machine, television, telephones, the revolver, refrigerators, potato chips, microwave ovens, radio, razor blades, lipstick, even sliced bread. All invented in the United States of America.
Those Americans who came before us gave us some of the most wonderful inventions in history. But, their greatest invention was the United States of America. And none of it would be possible without Christopher Columbus. So, liberal America-haters, put that in your peace pipe and smoke it.