Monday, October 9, 2017

So what are you calling Monday? For me, it’s primarily a mail holiday

Are you amongst the individuals who are persisting in thinking of Monday as Columbus Day, even though it is one you probably haven’t had off since you were back in elementary school?

Hero? Or Scoundrel?
Or are you going out of your way to think of this as Indigenous Peoples Day – out of some line of thought that you’re making a political statement in favor of the people who supposedly were “discovered” by the Italian (but Spanish-funded) explorer Christopher Columbus.

WHICH MEANS THAT for a day, we get to become entangled in a dispute over which ethnic group deserves to have a “holiday” recognizing it – and which one ought to be hanging its head in shame at the actions of its ethnic brethren.

Personally, the significance for me is in the fact that Monday is one of the federal holidays for which the U.S. Postal Service halts delivery for the day. Which matters to me because I receive paychecks in the mail that usually are mailed at such a time that I receive them on Monday.

But this being a mail holiday, it means I won’t get paid this week until Tuesday – or later, if it turns out that the Postal Service experiences other delays. But the ineptitude of the Postal Service is a separate issue – and perhaps one that I will choose to write about another time.

But for now, we’re going to have to contemplate just how much of a load of bull we were fed during those elementary school history lessons – which were filled with information that was usually vague or undetailed to the point where most of us have a pathetic sense of what really happened in our nation’s past.

A THOUGHT WE ought to keep in mind whenever the ideologues in this Age of Trump claim they’re “Making America Great Again.” Most of them have a twisted sense of what this country was!

But as for Columbus, many of us are going to rant and rage at the thought of any significance being paid to the four voyages he made across the Atlantic Ocean that were among the first contact Europeans had with the continents now known as the Americas.

Can we really erase Columbus?
Others will whine and scream about the fact that anybody would want to downplay those voyages. Personally, I’ve always found some sense of humor in the fact that Columbus’ purpose in making the voyages was to find a new route to India for trade purposes.

Columbus, in search of Indians, instead discovered Puerto Ricans (and Dominicans, although no one knew them as such at the time).

ALTHOUGH AS FAR as I know, Columbus himself wouldn’t have been ridiculous enough as to use the mocking pronunciations of Puerto Rico that Donald Trump used last week. Particularly since those indigenous people thought of themselves as being from Boricua – and called themselves Boricuans.

As one who is of Mexican ethnic origin, I can comprehend the sense of disgust some feel at the notion of European types wanting to have their cultural background dominate the story of this portion of the world – as though those who were already here had no significance until they were exposed to the Euro ways of doing things.

But then again, I also comprehend how much the Spaniards – who were Columbus’ financial sponsors – spread their ways. It’s not like the 23 nations of Latin America would have anything in common; if NOT for the Spanish language and Catholic religion that was imposed upon them. And the reality of history is that it wasn’t American explorers headed east to Europe – it was the European influence that caused the two to interact.

I won't be buying anything for $14.92
I also recently stumbled across a commentary saying that people should lighten up in their criticism of Columbus – based on the logic that the English settlers were actually far worse when it came to their mistreatment of native peoples to the American continents.

IT MAKES ME think that the reason some are so eager to dump on Columbus Day is because perhaps they perceive Italian culture and traditions in this country as being of lesser value – and therefore more open to criticism.

Perhaps we ought to think a little less of those history lessons about 1620 and Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims. Of course, our real history is the intermixing of peoples – and perhaps we ought to realize we can’t really “take sides” – we have to acknowledge both.

Unless we’re prepared to do away with Thanksgiving. Which is something I think many of us would dismiss as crazy talk.

One other drawback; for me at least. Because it’s a mail holiday, I’ll be paid late. Which means I can’t even think of taking advantage of all those Columbus Day holiday sales – no new mattress for me!


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