Monday, October 8, 2012
Monday When It Isn't
He was one--ONE--of many explorers that came to the Americas. ONE. Not the first. Not the last. Nor even the most important. What he did have going for him was a fantastic public relations campaign.
Others arrived in the Americas with little fanfare. As a matter of fact, North and South America have been populated by succeeding waves of settlers for thousands of years and our shores have been visited by folks from both the east and the west.
Some left evidence of their visits in the form of ceramics, art, the exchange of plants and even animals. Indisputable evidence of their visits--DNA--proves they had SOME interaction with the populations that dotted the coasts.
This pattern has been repeated world wide for centuries stretching back before history. To single out one explorer for vilification at this point is unjust. Hindsight is a fine thing, but we cannot go back to change history, nor can we change the results.
Exploration is often based on greed, regardless of the ethnicity of the explorer. Migration follows exploration. And that is based on the basic desires for food, shelter, water, and homes. Neither are peaceful. When you look back through history, you find waves of warfare followed by new settlement. And regardless of the location, the individuals with the more advanced technology usually win.
To impose our twenty-first century values on the past is a mistake. We cannot go back. That way is to direct our energies to an impossible goal.
What we CAN do is go forward. We can work to eliminate hunger, thirst, homelessness, poverty, illness, and pain.
Do we need Columbus Day? Nah. We could call it Explorer's Day. Or maybe we could call it Reparation Day. Both of those choices look back, though. Maybe we should call it National Sales Day. That would be more honest.