In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. And then he got lost, you guys, and ended up in the Bahamas, which he referred to as San Salvador, when he was supposed to be sailing to the East Indies. Whoops! Without even realizing it, Columbus had made a discovery that would open up North America to the rest of the world, and the United States has been celebrating this "discovery" since 1792. But should the tradition continue?Though Columbus is often credited with discovering the New World, he died believing that he had found India, and his legacy has been tarnished by reports that he systematically decimated the Taino peoples of San Salvador by forcing them into slavery and murdering those who resisted. It's also hard to argue that Columbus discovered anything, as the Vikings had explored North America years before, and you can't quite "discover" a land that is already inhabited. Columbus DID usher in a new era of exploration in North America, but there were many lives lost and many cultures destroyed along the way, something that should not be overlooked. Still, many of you won't have to go to work tomorrow, as the country still celebrates Columbus Day, even as history continues to prove that Columbus wasn't exactly a hero as much as a homicidal explorer desperately in need of a GPS system on the Santa Maria. The controversy over Columbus Day has been raging for years now: should we still celebrate Christopher Columbus? Or are there other people or causes who should be given a National holiday instead? (South Dakota, for example, has already addressed the issue by designating the day "Native American Day.") Or should Columbus Day stand, as long as schools educate children on both sides of the famed explorer?
My best friend and I get together every year on Columbus Day to not celebrate our heritage, both of us coming from a long line of Sicilian-Italians. Instead we look for restaurants of cuisines most likely to annoy our republican families and go crazy. This year it's between Cuban and Persian. Seeing as North Korea is no longer on our shit list, we've got the (crooked?) axis of evil covered.
Seriously, it is a holiday I have bad feelings about. For me, there is little pride in celebrating who was responsible for much misery.