As the country has seemingly exploded overnight into a flash mob intent on destruction and hate, cities and states around the nation are seeing hundreds of statues, memorials, and monuments defaced, if not altogether ruined. But one of those is getting defended. And you might be surprised who is doing that protecting, at least partially.
At a press conference on Thursday, Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stood up and defended the prized statue of Christopher Columbus that soars above a traffic circle in Manhattan named for the same man, saying that it “represents in some ways the Italian-American legacy.”
Like many statues, this one has recently come under heavy criticism, with many demanding that it be removed from the area. It is the belief of those many that the statue somehow embodies and encourages racism.
Columbus, while seen as the man who “found” North America and began it’s settling by the European nations such as his own Italy, was of a time when his race was seen as somehow better than that of the indigenous tribes that resided here before him.
And as such, he and crew took advantage of the Native Americans, often enslaving them and exploiting their natural riches. The atrocities the natives experienced at the hands of Columbus and those that would follow after him, were not for the faint of heart.
Therefore, Columbus has been seen, in recent years, as far more of an evil and racist tyrant than curious explorer. And, in such a light, there are quite a few who believe he no longer deserves to have statues or monuments in his image or name.
You know, much the same way that statues and memorials of Confederate leaders and members are now being defaced for their place in history.
However, at least this particular statue is being defended.
Cuomo, who is a grandson to Italian immigrants and a proud participant of the annual Columbus Day parade in New York City, told the press that this statue, and really all of the ones of Columbus, are a reminder of the heritage of this people.
He said, “I understand the dialogue that’s been going on for a number of years. The Christopher Columbus statue represents in some ways the Italian-American legacy in this country and the Italian-American contribution to this country. I understand the feelings about Christopher Columbus, and some of his acts, which nobody would support. But the statue has come to represent and signify appreciation for the Italian-American contribution to New York. For that reason, I support it.”
And he’s not wrong.
While Columbus’s terrible misdeeds should never be honored or praised, we, as a people of great diversity, should be able to acknowledge where we have come from and what those variations in our culture have brought us. And that is all Cuomo is asking for.
I would note that statues of Columbus are not the only ones that do this. All around the nation, monuments are being destroyed because someone has spent far too long analyzing and making up belief systems that simply aren’t there.
They believe that when one looks and appreciates a statue of someone like Columbus, or General Lee, or anyone of the other hundreds of leaders throughout our history who have made mistakes and had thoughts we didn’t agree with, that we are somehow praising that person and the acts they carried out.
However, nothing could be further from the truth.
We don’t honor these men and women because of their acts; we don’t really even honor them. Instead, it allows us to look back at our history, too often filled with hate and violence, and realize how far we have come. Just because we aren’t proud of their past actions doesn’t mean that we can’t be proud of who we are, the country they helped to build, or our heritage.
But that’s precisely what the left would have us to do. For all their demands for identity politics and equality, there is no room for our history and the past that makes us what and who we are. By their standards, we might as well just burn every history book and write new ones, making up the past as we would have wanted it.
Unfortunately, we cannot change the past. What we can do is remember it and learn from it. And that is precisely what these statues do, remind us.
Maybe if we spent more time remembering, we wouldn’t be offended by every little thing…