Another NJ town drops Columbus Day — give me a break (Opinion)
Princeton has now joined Newark as one of two towns that will officially acknowledge what we know as "Columbus Day" as "Indigenous Peoples Day." It has nothing to do with anything other than anger, guilt and/or the currently popular act of virtue signaling. Columbus was one of a few people who reached the shores of the Americas throughout the centuries before and during the Dark Ages in Europe. It's not clear exactly how he was solely credited for "discovering" America, but it's a notion that was taught in schools and accepted as truth for over a century. Whatever you think of Christopher Columbus, he was an extraordinarily intelligent, ambitious and brave explorer whose contributions made a great difference in the history of the world.
He was an amazing man of his time, despite any of his human shortcomings. To deny that is just an immature overreaction to justify some sort of anger or guilt. Go ahead, change the day to honor indigenous people, but then give back the land the town owns to the nearest Native American tribe. While you're at it, abandon your own home and give the land it's on to a tribe as well. These people are the typical pompous attention seeking hypocrites who pull all of these stunts to show the rest of us just how virtuous and progressive they are. Give me a break. Whatever institutions that close on that day will still be closed over most of the rest of the state and country and they can show the world just how righteous and pure they are.
Lest you think this is about some ethnic pride. Fuhgetaboutit! Every year around this time I try to explain who Christopher Columbus was. I get plenty of blowback from Italian-Americans (of which I am one) as I try to inform people about the history of the world at the time of Columbus and his origins. It's not easy for people with a lot of ethnic pride who've been told all of their lives that he is Italian and his great explorations and accomplishments should be some source of pride to them. I get it.
If you want to show your pride, look up where your ancestors came from. Find the town and try to go there or get in touch with distant relatives. Honor you grandparents or great-grandparents for the awesome sacrifices they made to come to this country. But being in a silly parade or taking the day off from work has nothing to do with you.
Italy wasn't even a country when Columbus came here. He was from the city/state of Genoa but didn't even speak the native language there. His parents were Jewish merchants from Spain who likely moved to Genoa to avoid the persecution that was going on there at the time. It's fascinating reading if you look into it.
It doesn't really matter what his background was or why he made the amazing voyages that he did. They were amazing accomplishments that shaped the course of history. You can assign any good or evil you want to it depending on your perspective. You can also score political points in some circles if you brand him a villain. Good job Princeton and Newark! You're good people. Just ask yourselves!
More from New Jersey 101.5: