Columbus Just Canceled Columbus Day. Philly Should Too.
It's pretty lame when Ohio is more progressive than we are when it comes to honoring racist murderers.
The City of Columbus just canceled Columbus Day. That’s right: The Ohio city named after Christopher Columbus — one that once spent $95 million to fete him and his “accomplishments” — has actually nixed the holiday set up to honor him. Instead of honoring Columbus, Columbus will honor veterans. It’s just such a great and ridiculously dirt-simple idea that a city like Philly, so hung up on being “progressive,” should be ashamed that Columbus, Ohio, beat us to it.
Christopher Columbus is one of three people who have federal holidays in their name. Yes, of course all of these people are men. The other two are George Washington, although we tend to refer to that holiday as Presidents’ Day, and then Martin Luther King Jr. I know that George Washington had his issues and that Martin Luther King Jr. has recently come under more scrutiny. But Christopher Columbus belongs in his own category: Few people in American history were quite as loathsome.
Christopher Columbus was a racist. He cut off indigenous people’s hands when they didn’t pay him the gold tribute that he demanded, and then he left them there to bleed to death. The Atlantic slave trade? You can thank Christopher Columbus for that.
Oh, and CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS DID NOT DISCOVER AMERICA. I’m hoping you’ve figured this out by now. But maybe not.
In other words, there is literally no reason to honor Christopher Columbus with a holiday. And there are plenty of reasons to strip it away from him.
Now, this being 2018, with the country perhaps being more divided than ever before, a lot of people roll their eyes when you start complaining about Christopher Columbus. There is no shortage of praise for the man on social media today, a sort of “from my cold dead hands” response to what is seen by some as political correctness. But it’s not political correctness to hate on Christopher Columbus. It’s just good morals. It’s human. It’s right and just.
We’ve been calling for Philly to pull the plug on Columbus Day since 2012. Since then, the Philadelphia School District axed Columbus Day from its holiday calendar, in case you’re wondering why there aren’t a lot of kids playing outside today. And now we’ve got Columbus, Ohio, showing us how it’s really done.
There’s nothing left to do but actually do it. And then we can get rid of that unbelievably ugly Christopher Columbus statue on the waterfront. We can lose the Columbus Day Parade. And Delaware Avenue can just be Delaware Avenue all the way through, instead of Columbus Boulevard in South Philly.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Philadelphia will cancel Columbus Day. One day. It’s inevitable. The only question is, which mayor will have enough of the “no one likes us, we don’t care” mentality to do it? We tried to check in with Mayor Jim Kenney to see if he’s up for the task. Alas, City Hall is closed today. Columbus Day and all.