|Christopher Columbus photo courtesy of The Huffington Press|
The past weekend was a three day "Columbus Day" celebration. Kids and parents, for years and years, have cherished it as the first "holiday" of the school year, the one that brings sales at the mall, special deals at the car dealerships, and mini-breaks a "tank away" for families who take twenty-second gasps at the beauty of nature and head off to remain indoors viewing racks of clothing and bins of items that they already have too much of back home. Of course, there are the requisite cider and doughnut purchases and perhaps for those who have never done it, the "must-do" apple picking. For those who have, it is a "must-not," under any circumstances.I favor instead, my daughter's choice. A chip off the old block, she prefers to do her picking at a nice supermarket. It is true what they say about that apple not falling far from the tree.
And so, we enjoyed a full three days, courtesy of Christopher Columbus, the one who sailed the Ocean Blue and became a true hero in history for having "discovered"America. Tralalalala. Stop right there Grandparents. Big bubble about to burst. Six hundred years have been awfully kind to a man who we now have "discovered" was not the man the textbooks wanted us to come to know and love. Our grand kids are not precocious by some kind of freak accident. They have been genetically engineered. We, the "children of light"brought forth the "children of brilliance" who have now brought forth the "children who won't be children for very long". Enlightened? Super-charged. Tell 'em the truth, nothing but the truth and teach them to question. Not-such-a-bad-idea but couldn't we have waited just a tad bit longer before the Facebook reveal? Did we have to, just now, with everything else that's wrong and scary going on in the world, have to expose Chris as a man who, if he were alive today would be put on trial for crimes against humanity.
Thanks to our friends at the Huffington Post, we learn that "Columbus' reign of terror, as documented by noted historians, was so bloody, his legacy so unspeakably cruel, that Columbus makes a modern villain like Saddam Hussein look like a pale codfish." and we are asked to answer this question: "Why do we honor a man who, if he were alive today, would almost certainly be sitting on Death Row awaiting execution?"
Of course, my thoughts on Columbus have greatly changed. Who knew? I believe in the right to life, all life (I don't give a rat's ass about what you think of that and if you don't like it, please remember you were not forced to visit my blog), and if Chris disrespected life, tortured and killed people, I haven't any room in my heart for him and will be willing to join the growing numbers (courtesy of Facebook) who are also not amused. But now? Why now? Ebola. Be-headings. War. Guns killing innocents. Pedophiles in the news every day. These poor kids. Do they stand a chance at happy, carefree childhood? Even if you keep yours away from the evening news, the exposure will come from a school friend who wasn't as shielded. Kids, talking like adults at the office would. I may not be as smart as my own kids but I can predict the future, in a somewhat eerie way and I'm predicting that the best bet for a choice of profession will be in the field of mental health. Remember all those new grads who headed for I.B.M. in the sixties? Their grand kids will be hot and heavy in pursuit of counseling degrees because there will be plenty of business. Brave new world, at their doorstep.
My friend Barbara and I shared a lively hour on the phone last night, our discussions almost always leading to our thoughts on current world situations and our collective sighs result from our frustrations at having so little personal power to change anything. She was unaware of the new perspective on Columbus so I filled her in to the best of my ability and added, "what's next, Barbara, Christmas?" She reminded me that it has been up for grabs for a few years now, just like Easter and a few others. But, there's Halloween. "Nah," she said,"Halloween will always be around." After all, it is the celebration of sinister and evil, nothing there with which to tamper or dissuade participation. Watch out,Thanksgiving, you're sure to be next. Gluttony is something we Americans celebrate every day so who needs a day during which we actually gather as a family and sit down at a table, enjoying each other's company, sharing a value? Why now?