2017-10-04 / Editorials

Keep The Statue, And The Holiday

Every year there is controversy surrounding the grand legacy of Christopher Columbus. We are aware of the many effects of that fateful voyage and huge repercussions that are still felt today. There were gigantic changes in the entire world as a result of Europe’s discovery of the other half of the world we call home. Without those changes, we would not have had the stunning progress of the past few centuries. Of course there have been some drawbacks to these developments. Just as there is good and bad in every person, every last one, that does not mean we can or would do away with everyone. In this life, there is no yin without yang. Negative aspects can be found in any enterprise or deed. That does not negate the good results. We should celebrate the good, and not try to erase the past. We cannot fathom what life would be for us today, had anything in our personal history been done differently. Looking at the past, it is unfair to take actions out of the context of the times. We can think of specific examples from very recent history, expressing sentiments that by today’s standards would be completely unacceptable. Even from a couple of decades ago, a mere blink in terms of history, certain very popular songs said things that horrify us today, yet everyone, ourselves included, gleefully sang along. They still occasionally play on the radio in fact. There is no uproar, no one is going to run out and commit crimes as a result of hearing them. The point is, it is important to keep perspective. We are grateful for the life we have today. Our society, though imperfect, is vastly improved over life mere centuries ago. Society is evolving over time, just as all living beings are. There are fits and starts, there are some steps back, but in general, the trend is toward improvement. When we consider unwise choices we may have made in our own lives, we must not overlook the good that came of it. Actions or events that we regret, or that may even have been huge mistakes, have likely resulted in important parts of our lives that we could not imagine being without and would not want to give up, even if we could. At the very least, they taught us important lessons. History cannot be rewritten, nor should it be. It cannot and should not be erased. “Those who would ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” If there were bad results or effects, they should be studied, discussed and intelligently corrected. This does not mean we do not think the indigenous people of this land should be honored and commemorated as well. We are all for celebrating our indigenous peoples. Why can’t we have both? With these thoughts in mind, we celebrate this major contributor to our lives and to the world and wish you a Happy Columbus Day.

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