Should NJ replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day? (Opinion)
This year Columbus Day passed with very little fanfare or attention. Maybe it was the fact that it was a miserable rainy day or that many of the Columbus statues were torn down, hidden away or removed earlier in this crazy year of upheaval. Most of us who still have a job to go to, unless you work in government, went to work as always.
Last month, Democratic State Sen. Brian Stack of Hudson County offered a proposal to replace Columbus Day throughout the state with Indigenous Peoples Day. The proposal was withdrawn after only two weeks, perhaps because it was a transparent attempt to virtue-signal to groups of people that won't be happy until we destroy every part of our history or culture. Whatever side of the discussion you're on, it's undeniable that Christopher Columbus was an explorer of incredible intelligence, courage and foresight. But no matter. Our schools have taught for at least a generation that he was evil.
We live in a society that acts more on raw emotion, rather than facts or historical knowledge that can't be summed up in 147 characters on any internet platform. Some Italian-American groups have protested the idea of replacing the day with Indigenous Peoples Day, even though Columbus was not Italian. Italy would not become a country for another 368 years. I happen to be a proud American of Italian ancestry. Both sets of my grandparents were from Southern Italy. So, I don't approach this out of a sense of pride or defensive anger, just historical perspective.
For sure, Columbus was a flawed man, but most important figures in history were. He should be celebrated for what he accomplished and studied carefully, without grievance or hatred for who he was and how he lived. Why couldn't New Jersey celebrate both? Since we have the most level-headed listeners/readers in this state, I figured we'd ask you.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis' own.