I remember when I
first learned about how Columbus tortured, raped and killed the local
indigenous people, I thought how disgusting it was that our country
put him on a pedestal and treated him as some great figure. I'd say
we should keep Columbus Day, but treat it as a day of mourning for
the indigenous peoples, cultures, and mourning for Mother Earth and
the Eden-like ecosystem that the first peoples lived in harmony with
as A PART of, rather than living APART from. The dominant violent
and abusive culture of greed that the Europeans brought to the
Americas has ever since been trying to control and kill the free,
wild and ancient cultures of both plant and animal species and of
Since I used the term "greed", I need to clarify that I don't believe it is "greedy" just to want more than you need. "Greed" is the willingness to externalize costs, as our system encourages corporations to do. Greed is the willingness to HARM OTHERS to get MORE than you need. (On a related note, I believe that when Nixon and his gang, in tight with the Military Industrial Complex, co-opted Eisenhower's Republican Party, it is the mode of greed that best describes what this new Republican Party became a tool to promote. This is why I suggest it is time to re-brand them the "Greedy Old Predators' Party". Also like sexual predators, they prey on their own young, that I see as represented by their base among the less educated working and retired people.)
Let's declare it
time to learn from this painful and ugly history of greed and abuse
of fellow humans and nature and reverse course with a symbolic
gesture of making Columbus Day a day to mourn the loss of free and
wild and ancient cultures of species and peoples over the last 500 to
5000 years. We can then make it a day to celebrate a re-building of
harmonious communities of peoples, plants and animals, both locally
and around the world.
Columbus and the Spaniards, at the tips of spears and swords, brought a horrifying corruption of so-called "Christianity" to what is now called "the Americas", a form that was typified by the tortures and mass murders of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition of that time, while Christ himself would have been rolling in his grave.
Having just read the New Testament, as many "Christians" apparently have not done, I thought the message that Christ was delivering, when it was him, and not Paul, John or someone speaking for him, was primarily one of peace, love, healing and harmony. In his culture of that time, I'm not sure he understood the part about harmony within our community of wild and free plants and animals though. This is what I interpret the story of the Garden of Eden to be about. For me the flood was what happened after Eve (or the previously indigenous peoples) got this dumb idea that those apples tasted so good that she should commandeer large tracts of the landscape to create mono-cultures of cultivated and genetically manipulated apples at the expense of all of the other members of that natural community of co-evolved, co-adapted and co-dependent organisms. She then got the idea, by watching a snake, that she should do what those animals like the snakes and rabbits did to increase their numbers so there would be enough people to eat all of those apples. She and her progeny then greedily co-opted, controlled, abused and genetically manipulated the wild and free cattle, sheep and goats so they would feed and cloth humans alone. Pretty soon an over-population of humans had over-grazed and over-cultivated the landscape, robbing it of its ability to hold water and leading to a great flood. To me Noah's Ark was a representation of the refugium of remaining wild plants and animals of Eden that only still survived at the top of Mt Ararat after the flood. I saw that flood in the bible as a representation of both real floods and desertification that human mismanagement of the landscape precipitated, and a representation of the devastation of the Eden-like landscape from over-cultivation and over-grazing itself. From this last bastion of Eden on Mt Ararat, the landscape, devastated by the forces of human greed, was re-populated with wild plants and animals.
I imagine a Christ who comes back in spirit after seeing the extreme global ecological devastation that human and corporate greed has wreaked upon the earth over the last 2000 years, finally better understanding the portion of love and harmony that has to do with love of our mother earth and harmony with our community of wild plants and animals. Why not let a global movement of harmony with both peoples AND nature be the embodiment, for Christians, of a second coming of Christ? We could then learn from the sour truth of the real Columbus and his sick and twisted form of "Christianity" and what he and his European culture of greed brought to the Americas. We could then make lemonade with our knowledge using it to catalyze a movement of global harmony on Columbus Day.