Saturday, October 17, 2009
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 13 Comments
In California, Columbus Day became Indigenous People's Day, which sounds vaguely like a Marxist terrorist group's holiday. But while it's tempting to put that down to California's political correctness, in South Dakota, Columbus Day became Native American Day, and that is a trend that other states are likely to follow, as protests mounted under the aegis of La Raza (The Race- the Hispanic KKK) continue to grow. And while none have thus far followed Venezuela's lead in renaming it Día de la Resistencia Indígena, or Day of Indigenous Resistance, which indeed is a Marxist terrorist group's holiday, the whole notion of celebrating the discovery of America has come to be seen as somehow shameful and worst of all, politically incorrect.
About the only factor still keeping Columbus on the calendar in places like New York is his role in the Italian-American community, which have made many Mayors and Governors reluctant to toss the great explorer completely overboard. But while Ferdinand and Isabella may have brought Columbus back in chains, modern day political correctness banishes him to the darkened dungeon of non-personhood, erasing him from history and replacing him with a note reading, "I'm Sorry We Ever Discovered America."
But this is about more than one single 15th century Genoan with a complicated life who was neither a monster nor a saint. It is about whether America really has any right to exist at all. Is there any argument against celebrating Columbus Day, that cannot similarly be applied to celebrating the 4th of July?
If Columbus is to be stricken from American history books in favor of ideological thugs like Malcolm X or Caesar Chavez, who may be getting his own national holiday soon courtesy of Barack Obama (and for bonus points see if you can guess which regime's flag, Chavez's flag on the left most resembles), then America itself must soon follow. If Columbus' crimes are that he enabled European settlement of America and slavery-- those same charges can easily be put at America's door as well. And if the settlement of non-Indians in North America is illegitimate, then any national state they created is inherently illegitimate as well.
The battles being fought over Columbus Day foreshadow the battles that will one day be fought over the 4th of July. And as Columbus Day joins the list of banned holidays in more and more cities and states across America, one day there may not be a 4th of July, just a day to remember the atrocities of the colonists against the indigenous inhabitants of North America, as we will be treated to PBS documentaries comparing George Washington to Hitler and calling the Declaration of Independence a colonialist mandate. Such documentaries of course already exist, they just haven't gone mainstream. Yet.
We celebrate Columbus Day and the 4th of July because history is written by the winners. Had the Aztecs, the Mayans or the Iroquois Confederation developed the necessary technology, skills and motivation to cross the Atlantic and begin colonizing Europe, the fate of its native inhabitants would have doubtlessly been just as ugly, if not uglier. There are naturally different perspectives on history based on which side you happen to be on.
To Americans, the Alamo is a shining moment of heroism. To the Mexicans who were themselves the inheritors of a colonialist empire far more ruthless than anything to be found in North America, the entire war represents an American plot to conquer Mexican territory. And neither side is altogether wrong, but choosing which version of history to go by is the difference between whether you are an American or a Mexican. A nation's mythology, its paragons and heroes, its founding legends and great deeds, are its soul. To replace them with another culture's perspective on its history is to kill that soul.
This is how it all begins. Probably the final bit of politically correct lunacy is a headline in the Columbus Dispatch about the Columbus Day festival in the city of Columbus, Ohio. It reads, "Italian Festival honors controversial explorer with its own Columbus Day parade". Once the great discover of America, Columbus is now called "controversial" by a newspaper named after him, in a city named after him.
Can the day when USA Today has a headline reading, "Some cities still plan controversial 4th of July celebration of American independence" be far behind?