Today is Columbus Day and I have a few questions regarding why we celebrate this still. Actually I've had questions on this whole thing since I was in kindergarten but I couldn't get any teachers to give me a satisfactory answer.
As the story goes, our intrepid explorer Christopher (don't call me Chris) Columbus sets off in 1492 to discover a shorter route to the West Indies so that Europe can reach that first ever outlet mall and make it easier to go trading.
He convinces King Fernando, a little, but Queen Isabella, a lot, to give him the money he needs to cover his expenses for things like boats, slaves, wine, and rats. He sets off with his three ships, Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria for what would become a two month cruise.
I've checked the roster of people on the cruise and the rumors of Gladys Knight, the Legends Show, or Jim Gaffigan are not true and they were not on this trip as entertainment. Instead he brought over thirty diseases and germs with him to infect the new friends he met.
These include, Smallpox, Measles, Influenza, Bubonic plague, scarlet fever, malaria, syphilis, and cholera to name but a few wonderful new things he and his crew of merry men carried with them. I'm sure it was good times on the ride over.
Anyway, back to my questions.
1. So, we celebrate his discovery of America yet he didn't set foot on America. Where he did land was in the Bahamas so he missed us by that much. Why do we celebrate his discovery of America when he didn't land here?
2. Can you really discover something when there is already someone living there? Technically if someone is already there it kind of has already been discovered hasn't it?
Here are some pictures from that day showing the island welcoming committee on the left and then Columbus and his crew saying hello on the right as they begin their massacre of the locals.
3. Since we have long since figured out that (a) there were already people here, and (b) that the Vikings came over to Canada and North America about 200 years before Columbus, why do we still celebrate this day? Is the Italian lobby in Washington that strong?
I have always been troubled by this whole event and equally unhappy about having to learn a poem about it in school. "In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue..." It just seems like we are making way more about this than we really should be making.
Some states have agreed with me and instead celebrate Indigenous People Day today, which actually makes more sense, but again he didn't discover America so why are we having a day for anybody? I continue to feel frustrated by all this.
It was only a short time ago, in 1954, that I discovered my toes but we don't have a day for that and trust me, that was a huge day for me. Or why not celebrate the day I discovered girls can be fun to be with even if you aren't scaring them or teasing them, like I did in 1967?
I think it is time we just put this whole day aside and move on before we confuse and confound more generations of kids.