GLEN ROCK, N.J. – The contentious debate over whether one of Bergen County’s tree-lined suburbs will abandon Columbus Day for ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’ may reach a climax at tonight’s council meeting.
Mayor and council in the formerly Republican but currently Democrat-dominated town took up the issue at their April 24th session. It’s scheduled for a second round of discussion on Wednesday evening (May 8th) at both the council meeting and the preceding working session. Attendence at the meeting is expected to be high and spirited.
Tensions are reportedly running high in outwardly-tranquil Glen Rock as a result of the push to scrap Columbus. Opponents of ending Columbus Day have accused supporters of relying on professional outside organizational help; Republican Councilman Billy Leonard told NorthJersey.com that at least two of the emails he received which were anti-Columbus Day also appeared to be carbon copy form letters.
The “indigenous peoples” movement has picked up steam in Leftist circles in recent years; more than 60 U.S. cities (including Newark, New Jersey) have replaced Columbus Day in recent years.
Notwithstanding the trend in bluer locales, it wasn’t that long ago when even the most radical of liberals believed the holiday honoring history’s most famous explorer was still something worth celebrating.
“More than five centuries ago, one journey changed the trajectory of our world — and today we recognize the spirit that Christopher Columbus’s legacy inspired,” wrote President Obama in his 2016 proclamation acknowledging the holiday. “As we reflect on the adventurers throughout history who charted new courses and sought new heights, let us remember the communities who suffered, and let us pay tribute to our heritage and embrace the multiculturalism that defines the American experience.”
Others have taken a decidedly less apologetic approach.
“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,” explained Bill Spadea of NJ 101.5 in a 2017 op-ed shared with Save Jersey.