Thursday, October 12, 2006

Columbus Day

Happy Columbus Day.

Of course, the calendar shows Columbus Day as having been last Monday (one of the mobile Monday holidays) but today is the date on Columbus's log when he found land.

If you want to really quibble, the Julian calendar had built up an error of ten days by 1492 and Columbus Day should be October 22.

None of this matters. I am here, writing this because Columbus started a chain of events that led to the modern world. In all of history, not many people have done that. During the last thousand years it is difficult to think of any single event that affected so many people. The invention of the printing press is the only contender that I can think of.

I celebrated the legal holiday by helping to re-christen the Columbus Santa Maria. It was a wonderful day for it - sunny, a bit hot. Not a protester in sight.

I understand that the protests are scheduled for today. The last I saw, there were snow flurries in the air.

I don't have any patience for the protesters. They lie a lot. They blame an explorer who died nearly five hundred years ago for the policies of the US government in the late 1800s. They magnify the modern world's faults and totally ignore the horrors of 1492 (human sacrifice, torture of strangers, cannibalism). They are also unwilling to admit that, like me, they only exist because of Columbus's voyage.

But, most of the protests have died down since 1992. The people most likely to protest Columbus are so consumed with hatred for President Bush that they no longer care about events 514 years ago.

So we are left with a holiday that is mainly celebrated by government workers with little thought about why we celebrate.

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