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Columbus Day: Worth Celebrating?

Columbus Day celebrates the man credited with discovering America -- but many question whether he should be hailed as a hero or reviled as a conqueror.

Today is Columbus Day, when many celebrate the man credited with discovering America. But there have also been many calls throughout the years to dump the holiday.

Those in favor of recognizing Columbus' acheivements correctly point out his bravery and the persistence he showed in campaigning to make his historic voyage. Those opposed point out -- also correctly -- that Columbus didn't actually discover America (he wasn't even the first European in the New World, let alone the first person), and that after his famed 1492 voyage, he returned to enslave the indigenous peoples. Also of note is the fact that European colonists introduced diseases that decimated entire populations.

What do you think? Should we still celebrate Columbus Day, or is it time to stop venerating a man many see as a villain? Tell us in the comments below!

Andy Warrener October 08, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Oh, no you did not just open up that can of worms! 1.) Columbus did not "discover" America. He "discovered" the West Indes. And there were already people there. I don't know how you discover something where people already live. What's more, he was lost, didn't even know where he had landed. 2.) He was not an explorer, he was a gold-seeker. He was a 15th Century version of a venture capitalist, trying to find a better way to exploit indigenous peoples for profit. When Columbus landed he did not buddy up with the locals, he enslaved them to cough up all of their shiny metals before he sailed back to Spain with them. Later he returned to serve as one of the most tyrannical Spanish governors in history. 3.) Columbus today stands for an idea of cultural inequality. His image taught in schools is often the polar opposite of reality and he is viewed by many as a tyrant and as a stumbling block toward racial tolerance. http://www.alternativeradio.org/products/mear003-mear004 above is a link to Russel Means' speech on the subject. It's just an except but it cuts right to the bone
Ryan Smith October 08, 2012 at 04:53 PM
All good points, Andy. I think a lot of folks these days just look at Columbus Day as "Department Store Sale Day" without thinking about the actual history behind the guy.
Sharon Swanepoel October 08, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Here in Walton County, Ga. it's just another day - unless you need to do any banking. Our schools are in and many people were not even aware it was a holiday!

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