Debate on Columbus Day

1 January 2017

Columbus Day to no longer be a holiday would be turning a blind eye to a difficult history, yet still turning that eye away from a history with a side to be celebrated. I instead ask of you to celebrate Columbus Day, learn the full history, including the wrong doings of Columbus and his crew, and celebrate the good change brought about by this event that ultimately led to the lifestyle you lead today. If the wrongs of every event in history were to be scrutinized would we have a history left to celebrate? Think of the reasons why we celebrate a moment in history, and then think why we have not excluded that from our celebrations.

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I believe it is to celebrate the good times and the bad and to never forget why we are here in this specific moment. In 1892 President Benjamin Harris made a commemorative proclamation to celebrate Columbus’ voyage to America. Though I was not there, I would like to believe the reason he made this proclamation was to celebrate the event that led to his life and prosperity in a country that may not have existed without that voyage. Let us keep Columbus Day, celebrate the good and remember the bad, never to make those mistakes in the future. Learn from Columbus day and get a day off from school or work to reflect.

When looking at the date October 12th Columbus Day, Americans tend to remember the history they were taught as children. Once Americans move into higher education they find the shocking truth that lies behind the half-truth they previously knew. Columbus was a reckless and callous man who had a crew who was just as in the wrong as their leader. There is controversy over the details but in large this man in history paved the way for Europeans to settle in America. There are many reasons why we should celebrate Columbus day and keep it as such.

We celebrate days that have far worse histories in my eyes than the history of Columbus Day. Take D-day or the holocaust or Halloween for example, these event have negative connotations but powerful history behind them. We as a society should celebrate our progress forward and not always look at the negative behind things we celebrate. Even when we look at something in a holiday that isn’t negative, like the Christmas tree, which there aren’t conifers in Jerusalem, it shows how much our holidays can be skewed from a tradition which was originally practiced. Even the other holidays honoring great men can have a darker side.

MLK day for example; Martin Luther King, or Michael Luther King, was under scrutiny because his doctorate had blatant plagiarism, also his “I Have a Dream” speech was plagiarized from a pastor from his church he attended. This shows that history and the light we view people in can be skewed to retain the honor or the pomp and circumstance that comes with remembering the good brought about by their achievements. Beyond the fact that Columbus was not the first person to discover the Americas, he was the man that brought about European civilization to America and their fascination with conquering a new world.

His wrong doings, which include, letting his crew rape, pillage and plunder the Bahamas, should not outweigh the good that coming to America brought for us as Americans who, without European influence may not have progressed quite as far or in the circumstances we did. As with the Colombian exchange that was brought about by Columbus’ venture to the Americas it is a box of good and evil. With the disease and captured indigenous people, the Columbian Exchange brought a trade of new plants and animals and ideas to further European civilization.

The indigenous people were not completely put out, though unfairly treated. They received goods and horses in exchange. I wish I could put more evidence toward the good treatment of the indigenous American people but I cannot, because there was so much mistreatment. Along with the Columbian Exchange other important events and discoveries were made. Many nautical advances were made as a result of Columbus’ journeys being so widely publicized. The way goods were traded and their inspection procedures advanced significantly during this time.

It is difficult to say, but the advancement of one culture significantly can be beneficial for all people when applied over a long span of time. Even good things have come from the celebration of Columbus Day throughout the centuries. The Pledge of Allegiance, which is laced with meaning and patriotism was prepared for a Columbus Day celebration. The District of Columbia was named after this man. Numerous celebrations have happened because of the good this man has accomplished. Not focusing on the negative helps keep pride in ones upbringing and creates a positive environment to learn in.

Why change Columbus Day? I will agree this man is undeserving of the overlook history has put on him because of the great things he accomplished. But if not for him, would there have been another to take his place so soon? Would another more benevolent man come through and accomplished for the European world, what Columbus accomplished? If we look deep and try to analyze the true meaning behind Columbus Day and celebrate the true reasons we can be thankful it has happened this way, I feel Columbus Day should stay a holiday and the day should be remembered as best as history can produce.

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