Cross-posted from NJ 101.5 with permission from Bill Spadea
Columbus Day is fast approaching. Some of you will have the day off, for me I’ll be working the morning at the station and taping a new episode of Chasing News. And I’m happy to be working. Not because I don’t think Columbus Day is an important holiday and should be celebrated and enjoyed. But because I want to spend the day behind the microphone dispelling the negativity and nonsense about a great explorer who helped shape the world’s future for the best.
Here’s my article on Christopher Columbus from last year explaining why he should be acknowledged and celebrated, as a flawed hero.
He was a man of great courage and strength who decided to overcome those that mocked him for his plan to set sail. The voyages alone would be enough to put him in the history books. But the fact that he set sail and discovered new lands and set the stage for the expansion of Western Civilization is the main reason he is still honored to this day.
The picture painted by the detractors who want to tear down and destroy historical references and statues conveniently leave out the description of the various tribes and cultures that Columbus encountered on his first and subsequent voyages. Some were violent, oppressive and practicing cannibalism. The evidence of how this impacted Columbus can be found when his first settlement was wiped out before his return.
Beyond the historical facts of what happened when Columbus arrived, there’s what was already happening well before he got there. The detractors conveniently leave out the research that clearly shows the indigenous population in a precipitous decline a long time before Columbus set foot on their soil.
Context is key in every discussion of history. Historical champions who shaped the world we live in were not always pleasant and were definitely flawed. Context of the time, the goals and the philosophy of the historical figure are equally important. In the case of Christopher Columbus, he’s a hero for sure.