Columbus, Ohio isn't down with Columbus Day

It's Columbus Day: a holiday slapped together to celebrate a raping, murdering, plunder-horny opportunist that's been dead for hundreds of years. Columbus, Ohio? It was named after the gold loving bastard. Despite this, for the first time since the city's founding in 1812, Columbus Day won't be celebrated there. Instead, the city's government has opted to throw the days off that are typically allotted to the holiday at something far more important: honoring the United States' veterans.

From AP News:

Ohio’s capital city, population 860,000, will be open for business Monday after observing Columbus Day probably “for as long as it had been in existence,” said Robin Davis, a spokeswoman for Democratic Mayor Andrew Ginther. City offices will close instead on Veterans Day, which falls on Nov. 12 this year.

“We have a number of veterans who work for the city, and there are so many here in Columbus,” Davis said. “We thought it was important to honor them with that day off.” And, she said, the city doesn’t have the budget to give its 8,500 employees both days off, she said.

The way that city of Columbus gave the shaft to Columbus Day is absolutely genius. According to the AP, instead of having a public vote over whether or not the city should abolish the observation of the holiday--something that has, in other locales, drawn protests, and a whack of political moaning--they opted to announce, late last week, that they were shifting the city's stock of holiday hours from the contentious holiday to be used on Veteran's Day in November. Read the rest

Exploration Day > Columbus Day

First celebrated nationally in 1937, Columbus Day pays homage to Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas. It is, needless to say, viewed very differently by different groups of Americans. Some people forget it's a holiday at all. Some Italian Americans see it as a point of cultural pride. Other people — especially Native Americans — point out that Columbus personally oversaw the murder and enslavement of thousands and see the holiday as an intrinsically cruel celebration of the beginning of a massive genocide and generations of oppression.

For some reason, we've been unable to deal with problem of Columbus Day, but now some folks on the Internet have a solution that actually makes a hell of a lot of sense: Replace Columbus Day with Exploration Day.

The logic is quite neat. Columbus Day is about one guy and the (actually untrue) claim that he was the first person to discover America. Inherently, that's pretty Euro-centric, which is a big part of why it sits awkwardly in a pluralistic country. But exploration is inclusive. The ancestors of Native Hawaiians were explorers who crossed the ocean. The ancestors of Native Americans explored their way across the Bering land bridge and then explored two whole continents. If you look at the history of America, you can see a history of exploration done by many different people, from many different backgrounds. Sometimes we're talking about literal, physical exploration. Other times, the exploring is done in a lab. Or in space. But the point is clear: This country was built on explorers. Read the rest