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Cristóbal Colón

Created: 15 October, 2010
Updated: 13 September, 2023
5 min read

   Since I was a child, I have been accused of being a troublemaker, referring to what some labeled as a big mouth. I could never let things alone. This is a trait that has followed me into adulthood when contradictions drive me to distraction.

   My parents would urge me not to offend our guests by bringing up topics related to politics and/or religion. My sister would not invite me to social gatherings because I would bring up topics such as racism, police brutality and the Vietnam Wars. I was told that I was a party pooper and would always lay intellectual pedos (farts)—forcing people to move away.

   However, it never dawned on my parents that the reason I was this way was that they had sacrificed and given me a good Jesuit education. Accordingly truth was always based on faith; however, where one had to look for a negation. You looked for an opposition and if one were true, and then the other was necessarily false. Rene Descartes in the 17th century began a journey in which scholasticism was questioned giving way to historical materialism.

   Unfortunately, in these times fascism is attempting to not only discredit scholasticism but it wants to take things back to a period when negations were ignored. In today’s time symbols have no historical context and they are defined by the state or the mob.

   This drives me to distraction and I have to speak out especially in the months of October and November the distortions of the truth build up my intellectual gasses. During this period the state allocates holidays for Labor Day, Columbus Day and Thanksgiving.

   The only relief is Christmas because anyone with half a brain knows that it is delusional to believe that Santa Claus is riding around on a sled powered by reindeer. Those with a whole brain question the historical validity of the manger story.

   Few people remember that Labor Day is promoted in September to perpetuate the myth that an alliance between capitalists and workers made the United States a great industrial nation. The truth is that Labor Day is promoted by the state to draw attention away from May 1st, international Labor Day, which was part of the workers demands for an eight-hour day and the killing of four workers at Haymarket Square.

   Well then, why don’t I like Cristóbal Colón?  After all the Jews, the Italians and the Spaniards all claim him. The Italians every year hold Columbus Day parades throughout the country that draw thousands of people. The Sopranos even featured a series when the mafia was upset with the Jews for claiming “their” Columbus.

   Recently National Public Radio reported “A splash of political controversy marked the start of the annual Columbus Day Parade along sunny Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. [Carl] Paladino and his Democratic opponent [for governor], Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, were scheduled to be among the 35,000 marchers … with more than 100 bands, floats and contingents” Paladino’s representatives, however, indicated he might not attend because of protests by gay activists.

   The irony, the contradiction and the hypocrisy is that if German Americans were to hold a parade honoring the birthday of Adolph Hitler universally Americans (including me) would be in an uproar. Hitler was either a good man or an evil man.

   At the same time many in the Catholic Church want to canonize Columbus.

   In this situation the opinion of Native American scholars are dismissed. Native Americans argue that Columbus acted brutally toward the Taino and other tribes. Apologists say Columbua could not have known that he would wipe them out. The Taino population in Haiti numbered 250,000 to a million in 1492. By 1517, there were about 14,000.

   This set in motion the wiping out of millions of native people. In Mexico and Central America alone the indigenous population fell from 25 million to under a million in eighty years.

   Apologists claim well this was not because of Columbus or Spanish colonialism—blame it on small pox. And after all they gave them Jesus Christ and eternal salvation.

   But who enslaved the Indians and debilitated the Indian masses through the destruction of their institutions, enslavement, exploitation and alcoholism. Columbus shipped hundreds of Tainos to Seville in 1495, and Spaniards brought African slaves to Columbus’ colony to work the gold mines. Indians were routinely used as slaves in silver mines throughout Mexico and the Americas.

   The myth of Thanksgiving is also distorted by the schools and the state. No one questions the facts because no one wants to lay the proverbial intellectual pedo. Hey it is a four day holiday. Cheap turkeys and hams and everyone can pig out.

   In early autumn of 1621, fifty-three surviving Pilgrims celebrated a successful harvest. The natives joined the celebration and instead of attacking the Pigrims they made peace. Indeed, the natives had helped the Pilgrims survive the winter.

   Much is made of the fact that the Pilgrims came to New England for religious freedom. However, forgotten is they were intolerant of others especially the Indians many of whom were enslaved. The pilgrims thought of themselves as the “chosen elect.”

   Today many Native Americans call Thanksgiving a National Day of Mourning. In the sixties they called it the day of the pendejos (fools) for believing the pilgrims. It was not until the Civil war that Abraham Lincoln invented the tradition of Thanksgiving.

   In Arizona today many of the so-styled minutemen and tea baggers would call this type of corrective process unpatriotic. They return the student of the truth to the worse examples of scholasticism where faith eclipsed truth.

   I don’t believe that these musings will change what people want to “believe.” The truth is lonely and at times threatening. People do not want to smell intellectual farts.

   But concede this old fart one thing. Change the English version of Columbus to Colón and then drop the accent and call him colon—it is historically more appropriate.