Columbus Day should not be national

On Oct. 10, our country celebrated its 74th nationally commemorated Columbus Day. Plenty of people have mixed feelings about the day. Some see it as an American day, because were it not for Columbus, America would not be populated by Europe, and the “White American.” In essence, our country would be a very different place.
Some see it as a day commemorating killing and slavery. Columbus did kill and take slaves after all. In addition, Columbus didn’t even make it to the land now called the United States.
I don’t think the day should be a national event. Abolish it. People celebrated the day for hundreds of years before it became a national affair. It should go back to being that way; celebrated by those who want to do so but not nationally recognized.
Slated for the second Monday of every Oct. it is as much a day for the exploration of Native American and Italian-American culture, as it is an actual commemoration of Oct. 12, 1492, when Italian explorer Christopher Columbus landed his ships, Pinta and Niña and of course, the flagship, Santa María on the shores of the Bahamas.
Having set sail two months before arrival, Columbus’ goal was to loop around the Earth’s round surface and reach the East Indies. In the infinite wisdom of explorer extraordinaire Columbus, he was convinced that he had done just that. It took him three trips across the Atlantic Ocean for him to realize that he was not in Asia, but in a “new” land.
Columbus was not such a heroic figure as the textbooks portray him to be. He took slaves and killed the native populous looking for gold. There are stories of him killing people as he questioned them on the whereabouts of the gold of Asia. I have to think that he did not get very much information out of the people of the Bahamas on Asian gold and that most of these alleged interrogations must have ended quite poorly for the questioned.
I don’t hate America. People who are pro-Columbus Day sometimes argue, “If you are not for Columbus Day, it’s because you are against America!” America is great. I couldn’t write something like this in many other places around the globe. In America, we are free to question our government and openly criticize our leaders and their decisions.
If someone wants to celebrate Columbus Day because they feel it is a meaningful day for our country, then great! Go ahead and do so. However, when our country has a day that divides us into Columbus supporters and Columbus haters, perhaps it is not for the best.
The day is seen by some as a horrible thing to commemorate. They see it as a commemoration of genocide. I do not think of Columbus Day as something that extreme, but if some people do, our country should respect that.
Does it really have to be treated as a national holiday? Some schools and businesses even close for it as they do on other national holidays.
This is not like saying, “Because some people do not believe in Christianity, our country should not close for Christmas.”  Christmas is not a national holiday. Most schools are closed for it, but they close for “winter break” or “the holiday season”. Is this implying Christmas? Of course it is. However, closing school for “the holiday season” does not offend people who do not celebrate Christmas as much as closing school for “Columbus Day” offends those who view Columbus as a villain. Perhaps Columbus Day would be better received were it not recognized nationally.
Some have taken the day in a new direction. Many schools hold culture fairs about Native American culture and about Italian American culture. This takes the day away from being about Columbus, and instead, about learning more of each other’s cultures.
This is fine, but if we are trying to make our country’s melting pot of cultures coexist, wouldn’t it make sense to first ditch the things that are separating us? Nix Columbus Day and the second Monday of Oct. will stop splitting the people of America apart with controversy.
Of course, were it not for Columbus, I would not have written this. MCTC would not exist, you would not be reading this now, and our country would be an entirely different place. For better or for worse, he did change our country. But, he also was profit-crazed. He took slaves and killed people looking for gold. He was not a hero. He changed life as we know it, but his legacy should not be commemorated by our country.