Well, even though I’m a day late and a dollar short, I have a few things to say about what used to be called, “Columbus Day.” The day when we observed the exploration and discovery of a new land which extended far beyond the then known world.
I remember learning all about the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria in school as a child. I remember coloring pictures of said ships and hearing stories about the discovery of a new continent. Hard to imagine that there was a time when people thought the world was flat and included only Asia, Europe and a few surrounding islands dotting the area between the waters. It was a time when they thought if they sailed too far, they’d fall off the edge of the earth.
We also learned how the natives of this continent, welcomed the newcomers and they in turn blessed them with horses, guns, and syphilis and other nasty diseases. We didn’t hear about that in school, but it was a fact. At first they learned from each other, until it became the goal of the wealthy to push for more of the native lands. Greed played a part of course.
We can be sure that progress, civilization, population, commerce, trade, money and wealth, maltreatment of many and the displacement of an entire race for the benefit of another, will always get in the way of our thinking. It’s part of the nature of man to want more – to search for better- to climb to greater heights – and often the wealthiest of us win, because we have the wherewithal to do so.
However, I think that we’ve become so blistered by political correctness, we keep flogging ourselves over our past sins and that hinders us from moving forward. There is no question that the Native American was forced out of their lands by a greedy people, but the truth is they began their relationship as friends – teaching and helping one another.
There is no question that African Americans suffered great agony during the time when men owned slaves. The Irish immigrants were seen as rabble rousers. The Chinese were looked down on, but they were responsible for building most of the railroads which united the country from one coast to the other. The Japanese were sent to internment camps in America after Pearl Harbor, but they continue to contribute to our land in the fields of medicine and technology. Our history isn’t always pretty, but it is still a part of who we are. By changing the name of a certain holiday, we cannot undo the wrongs of the past. Those things will always be a black mark on our nation, but we can change the course of where we’re going.
Today we’re a nation of many people – with many backgrounds and heritages. We could look at this as a disadvantage, but in the formation of the most powerful nation in the world today, it has been a true blessing. Every nationality – every culture – every race and religion has added something to the mix. Without our diversity, we would still be living in countries ruled by dictators, despots and those who have no value for human life. Hmmm.
So today, instead of dragging up the ugly side of the exploration of America – instead of dwelling on past sins – instead of looking back – lets look at where we’re going. In my opinion, there are still many in America who continue to cherish her. There are those who stand in honor of her flag. There are those willing to die to protect her. We are a nation of immigrants and in spite of our differences, we are Americans. It’s time to start acting like it. God bless America!