Columbus Day: A Symbol of American Values

There are myriad vile symbols floating throughout the American empire. Due to mass governmental programming, most Americans are oblivious to these symbols and just how reprehensible they are. From the image of the Cherokee murderer, Andrew Jackson, on the twenty dollar bill to a bridge in Virginia named after the proud racist and illegal occupier of Haiti, Woodrow Wilson; there is no shortage of praise for these repugnant characters throughout the US. Vile human beings are routinely celebrated in almost every corner of American society, with little to no respect for the people who were irreparably damaged because of their actions, policies, and ideologies. Perhaps the most revolting aspect is the millions of children who are systematically programmed, each year, by way of narrowly framed (and often inaccurate) history and social studies lesson plans. Training youth in this manner is an almost surefire way to insure that America’s history of injustice continues—all in the name of domestic and global repression. Murder, pillage, and plunder have long been the order of the day; I guess that’s why devils like Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) are widely commemorated from the US’s stolen coast to stolen coast.

The US corporate media, its government, and its subpar government run school system are all very selective when it comes to discussing a wide array of crimes against humanity, especially the homegrown kind. What is even more reprehensible is that, routinely, the US celebrates some of the worse human beings this planet has ever known. As any morally centered person knows; celebrating people that were murderers, plunderers, war mongers, rapists, or racists (among other contemptible things), only serves to perpetuate those same actions by others. After all, especially from a child’s point of view, why would something/someone be celebrated if it/they were not commendable? What do we think happens to these children if there is no sane intervention comprehensibly educating them about the individuals and events being celebrated—they become adults espousing similar values. Those individuals become families, those families become communities and soon you have a nation coveting the socially deviant values of people like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. These two evil spirited men also happened to be the 40th and 41st presidents of the United States. Both men have airports (DC and Houston) named in their honor. If I had no prior knowledge of Reagan and Bush I might think they had to be upstanding men of character in order to have airports named after them. That flawed rationale could not be further from the truth.

Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, both, played major parts in the devastation and destabilization of countless communities within Central America via illegal wars and the covert funding of death squads. This is far from the extent of the damage or socially deviant value systems these “men” represented—-it is merely a snapshot of assorted aspects of their lives that is curiously seldom taught or reported on. Reagan, for instance, was a strong supporter of the oppressive white minority apartheid regime in South Africa. George H.W. Bush masterminded a covert program that sterilized more than 40 percent of Indigenous women without their consent and against their will. These are the kind of men deserving to have airports named in their honor? America seems to think so.

America has historically been a place where values are systematically set in place by the ruling/elite class (overwhelmingly white men). This trend dates back to the US’s illegitimate founding. The US Constitution and Declaration of Independence were established mostly by white men who enslaved black Africans. The contradictions riddled throughout those documents are numerous. Those documents spoke nothing of the countless people of color who were systematically slaughtered. Those documents were not written for those murdered, raped, and worked to death. Those documents do not honor those who had their tens of millions of acres of land stolen away by immoral and shiftless European thieves. Those documents spoke only in the interest of the ruling class and their decedents.

Make no bones about it, America is a stolen nation built on the backs and lives of hundreds of millions people of color. The original cultivators of the land, Indigenous Americans, were murdered off by the tens of millions. It was nothing short of genocide. It is seldom referred to as genocide because the people, slaughtered like cattle, happened to be Africans and Native Americans.

Many of the decedents of those true Native Americans find themselves isolated on government sanctioned internment camps, otherwise known as Reservations. This was not by accident, this was purposeful and systematic. Despite all that, white people continued to feel the need to portray Indigenous Americans as the “bad guys” within countless Hollywood westerns. That, too, was a slick part of the plan. Popularize white supremacy, as well as genocidal acts, and your crimes against humanity will be embraced by the non-critically adept. They understood then, as they do today, that there is a critical mass of the American populous more than willing to blindly follow. Those glamorized crimes will serve future plundering, war mongering and imperialist US governments all too well. A society that embraces the likes of Christopher Columbus, with holidays and parades, will be a society that, at the very least, accepts illegal wars and an out of control military budget—-to ultimately support those wars. You must have wars to justify the largest military budget on the planet. It will also be a society that produces the likes of Reagan, Bush, and so many others, to lead its sheep-like masses into ill-conceived wars—all in the name of test-tube “democracy”. Columbus, and his actions, is in many ways emblematic of the US government today.

Despite irrefutable historical record that Columbus was a murderer, rapist, torturer, kidnapper and mutilator he has been manufactured in to a hero within many US circles. School kids get the day off as if they are celebrating a saint. Few children will ever learn that Columbus routinely ordered his men to chop off the hands of Arawak boys. The man was a devil who brought hell to countless Indigenous people throughout the Caribbean. Even America’s unscrupulous third rate historians know this to be true; they just don’t give a damn about telling the complete truth. Far too many teachers still promote this devil as some kind of deity. Christopher Columbus was far from a skilled explorer. He was lost and discovered nothing. You cannot discover plots of land that people lived on (for thousands of years) prior to your arrival. The evil man never even set foot on what we call the United States. Nevertheless, the US government maintains Columbus Day as a federal holiday. I guess when the nation is built on an amoral foundation it becomes easy to celebrate certain people and their destructive actions. Destroying land, lives, and infrastructure seems to be the method of choice the US government deems fit in getting its way.

The current illegal wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now “covertly” in Pakistan would make Christopher Columbus proud. The deaths of over one million Iraqi civilians, all in the names of selective “freedom”, “democracy” and imaginary weapons of mass destruction; probably provides Columbus brief solace as he roasts in hell. The US claimed to be in search of weapons of mass destruction; however, ironically, they have done the mass destroying. Are the one million civilian lives lost in Iraq ever placed in to context within the American corporate media? Not a chance. They, like many American schools, have become the greatest propaganda tool for the insatiable empire. Iraqi, Afghani, and Pakistani lives have been, essentially, made insignificant in similar fashion to the Arawak lives that Columbus and his men destroyed. US drone attacks continuously, and indiscriminately, rain their hell upon villages in Afghanistan and Pakistan. How is that not terror when there is almost always a likelihood that civilians will be “taken out”? Meanwhile in the US we live our sheltered and “privileged” lives programmed not to give a damn about the astronomical amounts of collateral damage being done—-all in our name. The Afghani civilian lives might as well be hundreds of years away like the tens of millions of enslaved Africans forced to work, day in and day out, on places like George Washington’s Virginia plantation.

With the subconscious and silent consent of tens of millions of Americans, these war crimes (crimes against humanity) will endure. They will see no end in our lifetime or in our children’s lifetime. Systematic imperialism does not end by wishing it away; it ends through the collective actions of an engaged populous. The US populous, as a whole, is far from being engaged—and that is by design. Unfortunately, we are not as collective as we should be, yet, to demand more from this non-representative US government. Far too many people are still drunk on Obama-aid that they refuse to demand an end to his war in Afghanistan, despite demanding that very same thing of the mental midget (George W. Bush). These wars are immoral regardless of who is president.

Sane and moral societies do not passively accept destruction and plunder in their name. They also do not accept the celebration and glorification of mass murderers like Christopher Columbus. This is all on our watch now. If the next generation inherits these values and grows up exalting the likes of Columbus; it was largely our collective faults. We will have allowed it to happen without reaching in to our humanity and doing what our so-called government refuses to do—-the right thing. It starts with us and it must start now. It can only be done with a critical mass that is engaged, galvanized, organized and most of all, consistent.

Solomon Comissiong is an educator, community activist, author, public speaker and the host of the Your World News media collective (www.yourworldnews.org). Solomon is the author of A Hip Hop Activist Speaks Out on Social Issues He can be reached at: solo@yourworldnews.org