The Holy Grail of Immigration [PHIL-OSOPHY]
People who vilify Columbus Day are being unfair and biased. In addition, they're insulting the Italian-American community and the Catholic faith.
It's arbitrary to dig up Columbus' mummy and throw this 15th-century explorer into a present-day, 2020 progressive courtroom, where the jury is champing at the bit to find him guilty of slavery – which was already here when he arrived – as well as deadly diseases, the exploitations of the Indigenous Peoples, the ruination of crops and mining resources, opening the flood gates to missionaries – and I've left open more spaces for some of you to fill in, too.
Critics label him as malevolent, but the critic is ignorant of the fact that Columbus himself never owned a slave and adopted an Indigenous child as his son, facts the slanderers omit with their mischaracterizing description.
At New York City's Columbus Circle, his statue is inscribed, "To the world, he gave a world." Desecrating his statues won't change the unjustness that occurred in history. Human greed, abuse of commerce and the free-for-all European-style mercantilism with no rules can't be blamed on Columbus.
I see where some communities have already dropped Columbus Day and have artificially put Indigenous Peoples' Day in its place, but there already is an Indigenous Peoples' Day on August 9.
This is a country made up of immigrants, whether they walked or sailed here. Columbus is a hero for revolutionizing worldwide immigration. Instead of defacing statues, this holiday should be spent celebrating the resolute and brave spirit of every legal immigrant who, like Columbus, arrived here looking for better opportunities and hope.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.