Tuesday, March 3, 2020

"We don't deserve to be erased by a bunch of libs/dems"

     Lots of reaction to yesterday's column on the Chicago Public Schools scrapping Columbus Day. I particularly appreciated those from Italian-Americans saying they share my sentiments.     
     Though this one, from Charlotte Ulmanis, made my day:
Good Morning,Good Columbus-Native American column.If my father Scott Williams Thundercloud was still around he would try to adopt you into the Ottawa nation.
     Some brought up aspects that I agree with but didn't have space to explore: Certain native-American groups were themselves barbaric, and why do they get the soft-focus "Dances with Wolves" treatment while people keep trying to pry the Columbus blankie out of their hands? 
     Easy. Because life ain't fair. Because society undulates in peaks and valleys, which is what makes the cling-to-the-past-because-it's-what-we're-comfortable-with approach such a non-starter. I could see arguing that Columbus Day could be kept as a grim day of reflection, like Holocaust Remembrance Day. But nobody seems to want that.
     Of course, others were ... well, maybe I should let them speak for themselves. This, from Alfred Pilotto who, to his credit, allowed me to reprint it, can stand in for them all, and I will post it without commentary:

Your totally missing the point..its the fact that italians are getting erased in history more and more and by whom...people who have no idea probably who Columbus even was..I'm talking about the chicago public school system, frankly you can call it idiot day because all of the kids in CPS care about is a day off school. The liberal masses no matter how small win again. If this day was about an African American no matter what atrocities he committed there is no way it would be changed to anything else but what it is. Do we analyze every single person who was given a holiday,,I'm sure we can even find several wrongs with even dr.king for that matter but the Democrats/liberals who would never upset the African American community simply for their votes are using this to show how diverse or worse that they really care..how bout eliminating Thanksgiving or even changing the name..how bout veterans day because well they killed people with guns..Italians are a proud community and worked extremely hard for everything they have with no help from anyone. We dont deserve to be erased by a bunch of libs/dems who either pander or after 100 yrs think they know better..back in the day people used to say merry Christmas without insulting someone and that's the way it was, leave well enough alone..how bout this..how bout we have a happy indictment day for half of these moron aldermen who get indicted on an regular basis or give the kids a day off every time a CPS official fails to do their job..call it clueless day..that's what the cps needs to be concerned about..thanks, sincerely a proud Italian


  1. Well done, thank you. The mustachioed one-star general with the bandaged head and eye, whose intriguing bust is pictured in the banner, is a notable Italian? Google image search finds many copies of the picture, but none gave details about the subject.

  2. Well, that letter is certainly an argument against having days off from school.

  3. Mr. Pilotto's letter does indeed speak for itself, but I found myself fascinated by this snippet:

    ...the Democrats/liberals who would never upset the African American community simply for their votes are using this to show how diverse or worse that they really care.

    So really caring about racial/historical injustice is worse than faking it for votes?

    1. A stream of consciousness rant doesn't bear analysis. Suffice it to say that he was pissed and not likely to recover his usual equanimity soon.


  4. I haven't been to school in a long, long time but I am guessing that school kids are still learning a cleaned up version of Columbus.

  5. Does anybody remember that Columbus was sailing the ocean blue under the flag of Spain (400 years before "Italy" even existed as a nation), that he was married to a Portuguese woman, and that there's even some question whether he was actually an Italian from Genoa? Even if you set aside his horrible mistreatment of indigenous people, why all this negative passion over a "hero" whose accomplishments were the residue of ignorance and accident?

  6. Alfred Pilotto blames the liberals/Democrats for this. Napolitano is a Republican. Can’t stand stereotypes.

  7. About Italians "being erased from history," until I visited Genoa, where he is somewhat memorialized as a local boy who made good, I never thought of Columbus as Italian. His crazy quest to reach Asia by sailing west was, after all, financed by the Spanish royal house, one member of which, Queen Isabela, found herself appalled by his enslavement of the natives he came across. I can't attribute my ignorance to a failure of public education, which was quite good in my town. They didn't teach me that America was probably discovered by Lief Ericson either.

    I do find myself in a constant state of outrage that my Welsh heritage is not celebrated by the nation at large with an official holiday. There could be hymn sings (Gyman fa Ganu) on the White house lawn lead by the President and First Lady.


  8. Your column about "Columbus Day"vis-avis "Indigenous People Day" brought to mind a poem I wrote in 1992/ Not a great poem and also one which simplifies history and exaggerates it,but it works for me.

    A Visit from Capt. Christopher

    ‘Twas the dawn before Chris’ landing, when all through the isle,
    Not an Arawak was worried, each awoke with a smile.
    Their spears lay scattered, tossed aside without care,
    They knew not that an enemy soon would be there.
    Fauna and flora flourished, of each there was quite a lot,
    Ecologywise, why, this was as good as it got.
    The residents of this paradise were feeling safe and secure,
    Unaware of the upheaval they would soon have to endure,
    When, near the shore, they saw in morn’s light
    Strange apparitions which had arrived in the night.
    Out of their shelters these Guanahanians they came,
    Little knowing their lives would never again be the same.
    Away to the water they hurried to see
    The objects which had stirred their guileless curiosity.
    The sun on the crest of each lapping wave
    A dramatic aura to this novel scene gave.
    And what did these mysterious objects turn out to be
    But three odd-looking ships sitting calmly at sea,
    With a figure so prominent at the helm of one boat
    That they knew it must be he who kept it afloat.
    More rapid than arrows his exclamations they came
    As he prepared to disembark and establish his fame:
    “For God! For Spain! For our King and our Queen!
    For Power! For Gold! For Treasures still unseen!
    Onto the shore of the Indies! Onto the land we have sought!
    Let us alight immediately, for there’s history to be wrought!”
    As runners who are weary speed up as if on cue
    When the finish line banner finally comes into view,
    So to the beach the oarsmen did vigorously plow
    In a small boat carrying trinkets and eager Chris in the bow.
    And then in a twinkling he appeared on the beach,
    Planting his flag and making his speech.
    As the natives rushed to meet him in a welcoming mode,
    He took official possession of their fair island abode.
    Obsessed with his mission, gold, land and souls on his mind,
    He cared little for this new culture, to its merits he was blind.
    The very best of Europe he brought with him to give,
    Civilization, salvation, a better way to live.
    “These Indians, so docile, fine servants they’ll make,
    To mine and to carry all the gold we will take.
    We’ll baptize, instruct and save them from sin,
    We’ll make them wear clothes, like decent God-fearing men.”
    Beads and caps he distributed, such a benevolent master,
    Which his new subjects accepted, still sensing no disaster.
    They reciprocated lavishly for the baubles they had gotten
    With parrots, tobacco and thread-balls of cotton.
    “A handsome, generous people,” Chris was moved to admit,
    “I’ll take some of them back home with me, they’ll make quite a hit.”
    Disappointed with the small gold pieces which some of them wore,
    The Admiral searched the island in vain, compelled to have more.
    After only a weekend, he decided to head on southwest,
    Taking some of his hosts with him...what a considerate guest!
    As he departed San Salvador, the first of many islands he’d name,
    Its residents watched in confusion, still not understanding his game.
    But his exclamation was quite ominous, as his fleet sailed away,
    “With fifty men we can conquer you and make you do what we say.”

  9. Works for me too. Just need to dress up the meter a bit.


  10. I will support a school holiday for Columbus when Veterans don't have to work on Veterans Day.


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