The full quote from Karl Marx translates as: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”. After Seattle’s City Council tossed out Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day today I realized that all of this looking backward through the centuries in order to place blame on our country and make us feel like crap keeps us, the masses, from looking forward. Political Correctness keeps us preoccupied. From what? The government? Hey, you name it.
I concur — Columbus was a rotter! Conquerers do nasty stuff! Duh! Yet who will decide which holidays to toss and which to not (Obviously the Seattle City Council — in fact I want to know ASAP if they are going to mess with Thanksgiving and Christmas. I kinda want to know ahead of time if I should budget for gifts or try to win a turkey!).
Indigenous peoples fought one another long before Columbus got here (actually, he never laid a foot on this soil). Of course it is insane now to see what our ancestors did to Native peoples. It totally sucks. (I am doing my part TODAY by sitting my friend’s dog who is a urinating nightmare while she is at the Hopi Nation being a teachers assistant for a week.) Then we’ll need to figure out how far down the rabbit hole we will follow this twisted ‘logic’ of centuries old blame. And once down there we’ll waste a bunch of time just climbing out.
Much of America is looking backward yet where we need to be looking is forward. Toward solutions and dreams, toward education, arts, independence, necessity-breeding-invention, imagination and action. A country wallowing in self-hatred and self-pity is a damn waste of talent.
I really like this level-headed approach from the editorial pages of the Tyler (Texas) Morning Telegraph. Here is an excerpt:
Those who single Columbus out for bringing sin into an earthly paradise are ignoring human nature — which is the same, wherever you go. There simply are no paradises, at least not here on earth.
Certainly, history shows Europeans enslaved Native Americans. Yet slavery existed in the Americas long before Columbus arrived. The Spanish made war on native populations. Yet wars took place in the New World, between Native peoples, before Europeans were ever on the scene.
The truth is Columbus opened up a new land that eventually would serve as the seedbed of a new understanding of humanity — that all men are created equal.
And that’s worth celebrating, though it’s no longer politically correct to do so.