Jeffrey Marlow explains why we need to dump our least popular federal holiday, which is not even celebrated any longer in 17 states:
Every October, Americans take a day off in commemoration of a slave-wrangler, a man who governed by greed and oversaw genocide. They also celebrate a bold explorer, a man who risked everything and sailed across an ocean to “discover” a New World. The holiday, of course, celebrates the same man: Christopher Columbus. But as historians have revealed ugly truths about the explorer and his atrocious treatment of native populations, Americans have developed a schizophrenic relationship with Columbus Day. A new proposal would put an end to the awkward sanctification of the deeply flawed Columbus while continuing to celebrate his exploratory zeal. The goal: to re-purpose Columbus Day as Exploration Day.
And there’s this from Michael Moodian:
The United States is a country of progression. We persevere as we show respect for diversity, inclusion and tolerance. We realize that we have made mistakes with regards to racial and gender inequality, but we have become a stronger nation by recognizing and learning from parts of our history that we are not proud of. Looking at the civil rights movements of the past 50 years, it goes without saying that the United States has taken great strides in a very short amount of time.
A major step in the right direction would be to end the celebration of Columbus Day. Instead, perhaps we can focus on a new holiday that works to establish solidarity with the indigenous peoples, or perhaps we can even honor Thomas Jefferson for his promotion of liberty and inalienable individual rights. There were many who fought tirelessly for women’s suffrage and gender equality who should also be honored.
We will never learn from our history if we choose to glorify individuals such as Columbus, who was neither noble nor representative of American values.
Unfortunately, I don’t see any change to the federal Columbus Day holiday anytime soon, because any real effort in that direction would run into major interference from cultural, ethnic, and other special interest groups — the kind that have organized Columbus Day parades in major cities for decades, and represent a large enough percentage of the population that politicians wouldn’t risk losing their support.But they should.