Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Columbus Day

There's a lot of anti-Columbus going around.
....a despot who ruled his subjects with an iron fist...
...routinely tortured slaves and starved his subjects...
...forbade natives from baptism so they could used as slaves...
And I say, "So?" A guy in the 15th century conformed to the normal norms of the era, viewed people different from himself as less human, and sought to aggrandize himself and build a colony thousands of miles from "civilization" through autocratic rule. And I bet if you'd give that same opportunity to any number of European aristocrats, they'd have conducted themselves the same way.

Now, if you want to whitewash all of history, then yes, let's get rid of Columbus Day. Let's re-name Columbus Circle and the District of Columbia.

But let's be reasonable: Thanksgiving wasn't the pastoral gathering we learned about in grade school, and George Washington was a slave-owner, too. It's easy to be judgmental in retrospect. But that doesn't make it fair.

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