I am once again appalled at the insistence of the liberal history revisionists to discredit Christopher Columbus. At its 2019 National Convention, the National Education Association (NEA) passed a resolution to have Columbus Day renamed Indigenous Peoples Day, stating, “As an education association, recognizing, observing and celebrating factual history is important to maintaining our academic integrity.”
It seems to me that the job of the NEA is to teach the truth, not just what is politically correct. The distortions of history become magnified when only part of the picture is shown and as has been stated many times before, it is idiotic to apply a 21st century standard of political correctness to events of 50 years ago, let alone 500 hundred years ago and each year there is another shot across the bow when it comes to the Great Navigator.
When Columbus opened the gateway to the New World, the indigenous people who inhabited the islands on which he landed were not peace-loving philosophers who were overrun by European savages. The level of civilization as measured against the cultures of Europe effectively did not register. It was a world where power was exerted primarily on a tribal level, where opposition meant death or slavery. Even if someone was part of the ruling tribe, a poor crop, bad weather or an evil omen might signal death in the form of human sacrifice. It seems that the historical revisionists of today care not for these unpleasant facts. No, in their eyes Columbus, one of the most honored men in history, is now to be reviled because he personally destroyed the paradise that existed throughout the New World, as he killed natives by the tens of thousands, while enslaving both continents, placing them under the yoke of imperialists that would abuse and pillage the land unabated, for centuries to come.
Does anyone really believe this nonsense? Unfortunately, if that is taught in schools, then it is our children and grandchildren that will have this thoroughly misguided view forced upon them. This is a direct affront to everyone of Italian heritage and it should be an affront to anyone who has even the slightest understanding of history. With Columbus being accused of destroying the civilization of a people (having never set foot upon their land), it makes me wonder what other ”fake news” the NEA is disseminating.
The contribution that Columbus made to the world has been broader than the ocean that he crossed and deeper than its waters. As a man of faith and an ardent believer in God’s will and laws, Columbus believed that all people, including the natives he encountered, should live in the Grace of the Lord. There is no question that he wanted to spread the word of God and in this role, he did force his views on the natives, while banning traditional cultural embellishments, such as cannibalism. Most would not consider that to be a bad thing. Yet, the breadth of atrocities of which Columbus is now conveniently accused of has one singular purpose – to place a face and name on everything that resulted from the European colonialization of the Americas. It is as though a scapegoat must be found and Columbus has become that man.
I am angered each and every time I hear of a new denigration of Columbus or an initiative to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day. Not only is it aimed at a distortion of the facts, it is a slap in the face of all Italian Americans, their ancestors and to be perfectly frank, that of the United States of America itself. The last time that I looked, America was not perfect, nor has it ever been so. It is populated by people and therefore will always have flaws, but it is a country of the people. The freedoms that we enjoy and that many have given their lives to protect can be susceptible to abuse. The freedom that allows the NEA to exist in the first place is now performing a historical hatchet job. It is clear to anyone who bothers to examine their politicking that they want a label of disgrace to be hung and Columbus is the most convenient target.
This situation will not go away unless there are those who choose to fight against the distorted liberal populist view on level and fair ground. You do not want to be the person who is soft on this issue. You do not want to be the one who allows the rewriting of history to occur and for the proud heritage of Italian Americans to be so maligned. As a group, Italian Americans are fiercely proud of our heritage, but we sometimes are not vocal enough when we are being abused. We scoff at those that we know are fools and stooges. We silently wonder how anyone can be taken in by such drivel. The fact remains that if this drivel is perpetuated in schools, it will have a debilitating and long term effect on our youth. I shudder to think of the consequences to our great nation if we allow revisionist history “writers” to shape the core of our youth. The best advice I can offer is – do not remain in silence!