|O'Reilly for The Hill|
In Los Angeles County, the holiday of Columbus Day will soon vanish. The Board of Supervisors has replaced it with "Indigenous People's Day."
The reason: Christopher Columbus was "oppressive."
Kind of like the traffic in LA.
The hate-Columbus movement is led by a woman named Sheila Kuehl who once upon a time played Zelda Gilroy in the classic 1960's sitcom Dobie Gillis. It is hard to imagine Zelda, Dobie, and their pal Maynard G. Krebs protesting the great explorer back then but, hey, who knows?
One thing is for sure, the wave of political correctness that has taken root in America is way beyond "oppressive" but that's another column for another time.
Right now we have to deal with places like Los Angeles County, New York City, Denver, and Albuquerque, N.M., disrespecting old Chris and, by extension, many Italian Americans who celebrate Columbus Day as an ethnic holiday because the explorer was born in Genoa in 1451.
For those who admire Christopher Columbus there is a feeling that the PC nitwits know little about him and that is most likely the case.
First of all, "Indigenous People's Day" might sound good on the campus of UC Berkeley but it may be troublesome. Yes, some native tribes were enlightened societies but many were not. After inter-indigenous battles, torture and enslavement were often on the menu for the losers.
And then there is Columbus himself. I am almost certain that the LA Board of Supervisors do not know that Chris never set foot on what is now mainland USA. Nope, the closest Columbus got was Cuba.
For the record, Columbus made four voyages across the Atlantic between 1492 and 1504. He was looking for a route to Asia so he could buy spices at a discount or something.
But Chris kept running into various Caribbean islands, also the formidable obstacles of South and Central America. There was no passage to the Far East, only an endless drifting around.
Along the way, Columbus ran into some Indian tribes, most notably the Caribes. They did not like Chris and his malodorous European crews. Strife broke out and some bad stuff went down on both sides.
On the Island of Hispaniola, present day Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Columbus did establish slavery to support various laborious enterprises. Not good. Slave labor was common at the time the world over but that's no excuse.
However, that was a minor part of the "Columbus business," as Hollywood would have put it if they were wooing him for a three picture deal. Mostly, Columbus was a brilliant navigator who opened up the world for travel. No small achievement.
We now live in a time where severely misguided people with little frame of reference are dictating how history should be told and what Americans have a right to see and hear. And if you disagree with them, then you, yourself, are "oppressive." And they'll cover up your statue.
Christopher Columbus was not a villain and does not deserve the vilification the PC police are heaping upon him. Every person on the planet has done bad things but it is the totality of a human being that should be the litmus test.
Soon, the loons will come for the slaveholders George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. In fact, the Dallas, Texas School Board is now debating their diminishment right now.
The legacy of America is in big trouble.
Happy Columbus Day.