Columbus Day: The Holiday for Hypocrites

christopher columbus monumentAh, Columbus Day. Come children, let's all gather round the tree turkey jack o' lantern bonfire ... hey, what are we supposed to do on this holiday, anyway? Honor some long-dead megalomaniac for slaughtering thousands upon thousands of indigenous people so he could pretend he "discovered" their land?

Sounds ... festive!

Of course, plenty of us are hip to the celebration-unworthy nature of Columbus Day now; there's even a backlash to the backlash in effect: Those Emperor-has-no-clothes types who think people like me are hypocrites because we admit Columbus was a bad guy but still enjoy the day off from work.

An accusation to which I respond: What better way to celebrate a page out of American history than by practicing blatant hypocrisy?

Shall we talk about Thanksgiving now??? Or Thanksfornothing, as I would refer to the holiday were I of Native American descent?

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If you have, or have had, children in preschool at some point, you're well acquainted with the uneasy charade of Happy Pilgrims and Happy Native Americans all sitting together at low tables wearing one of three construction paper headdresses (feather, hat, or bonnet?) and eating their parent-donated "feast" in perfect harmony.

Invariably someone will say something like, "Look how nice everybody eats together, just like real pilgrims and Indians! I mean real Native Americans!" and you'll have to bite your cheek to stop yourself from making a sarcastic comment like, Yeah, I'm sure the first Thanksgiving was a real love-fest.

Perhaps it's the nature of holidays in general to be, if not hypocritical, rather fanciful elaborations of unrelated events (um, yes, Jesus loved to color eggs, and that's why we do this on Easter. Yes indeed!). But federal holidays? Come on. Even Labor Day is a joke. And if you don't believe me, I suggest you march down to Wall Street with a sign that says, "Please tell me all about federal pay cuts, job outsourcing, and the end of Social Security!"

So yes, I don't care if it makes me a hypocrite, I'll stick a feather in my day off and call it Christopher Columbus. Really, it's the right thing to do. Because Columbus committed so many horrible atrocities against so many people, we really shouldn't stand in the way of his doing a few posthumous good deeds.

Now, back to the party!

Do you think Christopher Columbus Day is the only hypocritical holiday we celebrate?


Image via Kate Hopkins/Flickr

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