Columbus Day. By now every school child knows that Christopher Columbus not only did not discover America, he didn’t even discover the North American continent. And he was not a nice guy. So why do we continue to have a holiday set aside for him?
As far as I can tell, the only beneficiaries are government employees. They get the day off, as do public schools. I have heard (but do not know it of my own knowledge) that Americans of Italian heritage like it, that they are proud of CC and would lobby to keep him as the false but honored discoverer of America. If that is true, it is another case of alternative facts being tossed into the public forum. Why don’t we get rid of it, or rename it “Explorer Day” so the dead people that really found America (some people from Asia found it well before even Leif Ericson) can get some attaboys.
My second point is World War II. You all may recall how the Germans started WWII in about 1939, ultimately pulling in most of the world in the deadliest war so far. And some of you know that World War I preceded it by only thirty years or so. After Germany was defeated soundly in WWI, the winners whacked them across the knuckles in the Treaty of Versailles. France and Britain took away land, made them only have a small military and charged them a shitload of money. It was no time at all before the Germans started chafing under this load and started Hitler on his way up to create WWII.
You ask yourself, “Why did we let this second war happen?” We had the Germans on their back. But we let them up. If we had wiped them out, there would have been no WWII, no millions of dead, no Holocaust. No Nazis. I know it is impolite to say it, but if the Allies had squashed them like bugs, WWII would have never happened.
My point is that a conquered people that are made irrelevant by absorption or elimination do not start another war. The American settlers land greed almost did it to our Native Americans. There have been no more Indian Wars. Looking back on it, would the prevention of WWII have been justification for eliminating a whole people? How about dropping the A-bombs on Japan to end WWII? It killed a bunch but, according to some historians, saved a bunch more by making it so the Allies did not have to invade the Japanese home islands, which would have resulted in many more Japanese and Allied dead than the bombs killed.
You can decide for yourself about these things. There is not much we can do about preventing WWII but we can, if we want to, do something about Columbus Day. It doesn’t matter to me. I am retired so a holiday means nothing to me except no junk mail.