This will be the first time in three years that Philadelphia’s Columbus Day Parade will be marching past a visible statue of its namesake.

The past few editions of the celebration forced Italian Americans in the city to look up at the proud example of our heritage, encased in a vertical wooden sarcophagus, courtesy of bigots and historical fabulists aligned with our current mayor, James “I Can’t Wait ‘Til I’m Outta Here” Kenney. It’s so offensive and outrageous that if you suggested anything similar was possible even ten years ago, you’d be told to visit Naples, in no uncertain terms.

But we are coming out of an age where the impossible was obligatory, where madness was received wisdom, and where prejudice was wrapped up in deceptive terms like “cultural appropriation.” We are not yet out of that dark wood — not by a long shot. But at least we are beginning to look at the people who did this to us, who subjected us to this repellent crash course in groupthink and brainwashing, with anger. In my own case, there is a good bit of hatred mixed in, along with a vow never to forget what they did.

READ MORE — Christine Flowers: Mourning Dianne

The people who, like Kenney, tried to strip Italian Americans of our rightful pride in our roots and our heritage are not honest dealers. Whether they truly believe the myth that Christopher Columbus was a genocidal maniac (and most don’t because most aren’t even well-read enough to crack open a history book without pictures), the crusade to not only erase Columbus but also raise up this amorphous concept of “Indigenous Peoples” to the same level of significance in our society was dangerous.

History is not “written by the victorious,” as some argue with a disingenuous smirk on their faces. History simply “is,” and we are free to view it through our own Rashomonic lenses, but that doesn’t change the facts.

Columbus did not commit genocide, even though many people died during his voyages to the New World. The dead include many of his own crewmen, who were infected by diseases they picked up from the very “indigenous” who were their alleged victims. It is also true that Columbus did not mean to discover “a new world” and was simply attempting to find a quicker trade route for his patrons, Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain. Nonetheless, he “found” the New World, which had been draped in darkness while the light of the Renaissance was beginning to burst across Europe. And no, he was not the first person to actually “see” this land, something my Scandinavian ancestors are eager to clarify (my Swedish great-grandmother always winced when I’d talk about going to the Columbus Day parade). But the Italian explorer was the first to actually set foot on the land and make use of that discovery in ways that changed the course of Western civilization.

Progressives have no actual sense of irony, which makes them even more dangerous than they would otherwise be.

The rush to rename the holiday “Indigenous Peoples Day” is an insult to the many tribes and races that occupied this land before Columbus arrived. They were “indigenous” to the land in the sense that they were here before we were here. But they are not a homogeneous group, and lumping them together just to spite Italian Americans is a slap in the face to the rich traditions each of these groups practiced.

And not to put too fine a point on it, but one of these rich traditions was cannibalism, so let’s dispense with the idea that they were peaceful angels who were slaughtered by the evil Europeans. In many cases, they gave as good as they got.

Columbus Day was established as a reaction to the lynching of eleven Italians in New Orleans in 1891. President Benjamin Harrison declared the holiday one year later, and as a friend noted to me, it was not just to honor Italians but to pay tribute to all immigrants who were being oppressed and discriminated against in the United States. So it is more than a little ironic that a holiday dedicated to those who abandoned their homes to find a new life and a new world has been replaced by a holiday dedicated to people who never left their native lands. Of course, progressives have no actual sense of irony, which makes them even more dangerous than they would otherwise be. To them, everything is dead serious and literal.

I will be marching by the unveiled Columbus Statue this Sunday. I will not be with any organized group, but I don’t need to be. My membership card in the tribe was signed and sealed at my birth, on the day my Italian-American mother brought me into this world, a world that would not have existed had it not been for the gentleman standing proudly on that pedestal.

Happiest of Columbus Days to all of you.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61

12 thoughts on “Christine Flowers: Restoring Columbus Day”

  1. Thank you Christine Flowers for your sane approach to this anti-Christian rhetoric going on with that disgusting Mayor Kenny The rest of this spoiled loser millennials living in Philadelphia that hate white people even though they themselves are white. I believe that’s the very definition of insanity but moving forward why don’t we just call it Scalp Them Alive Day. Yes they scalped their own alive and threw them out in the snow to die. Nice replacement! I’ll take Christopher Columbus any day! The Democratic millennials in Philadelphia with her insanity need to be living on the streets in teepees this winter and stand up for what they believe in if that’s where they think we should be. Truly!

  2. Interesting debate, but couldn’t American ancestors of Italians in Italy come up with a better representative of Italian Americans than Christopher Columbus? I do not know what’s true or not true about Columbus, but he never stepped foot in any place close to the United States. He was a very brave explorer. No one can deny that. I admire Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Lee Iacocca all who overcame prejudice and mainstreamed Italians into America. I wish those Italian Americans would be celebrated more today than Columbus, but I wouldn’t cancel Columbus for the people who want to celebrate him.

    1. Anybody who wants to celebrate Columbus today can go ahead and do it. I won’t but if this is all it takes, it seems like people never really cared that much about the day anyway TBH

  3. All the hateful rhetoric and violence associated with the removal from history those the “Woke” hate because they don’t fit the “Woke” racist concept of history is expressed through the abolishment of holidays and statuary. I am certain the “Woke” feel very threatened by people who refuse to feel guilty and ashamed over circumstances in which they had no involvement. The faux guilt complex is fading away. It is interesting to me to have the Statue of “Fearless” Frank Rizzo restored. I recall the days when even The Enquirer thought he was pretty much OK.

  4. It’s typical for Christine to just emotionally pick a side and go all-in. There is never any nuance. Everything is black and white. If one dares to seek out or even ask to hear the position of the opposing side, they are labeled some sophomoric name that she likes to use, like “Progressive scum” or “Stupid liberals.” Christine is nothing if not the queen of fake outrage. The most innocuous thing will trigger her into a fit of tears and Twitter blocking. Dare to criticize the Catholic church? She is thrown into a tirade of name calling, tears and aggressive rosary promotion. (All on social media of course, so everyone knows just how outraged she is.) Question a statue? You have now declared war on every Italian person to have ever walked the earth and you hate everything from Spaghetti to Puccini. It’s an interesting study in humanities to ponder how someone as 1 dimensional as Christine can have a following of any kind. But just a little cultural observation answers the question. Even in liberal areas, conservative (hate) talk radio thrives and Trump rallies draw large numbers of genuinely awful people. It begins to make sense that a loud mouthed, vulgarian as unpopular as Christine can draw just enough “followers” to keep her in the business of hate, bias and hypocrisy. She found her niche market.

    1. Have you noticed how gleeful Christine Flowers is regarding the last 13 poor souls who died in Afghanistan? She never uttered a single complaint about the THOUSANDS who died in that war. She’s good with the thousands who died for nothing but furious that Joe Biden ended that senseless war. Her outrage over the last 13 who died is as fake as her Catholic faith. She’s now comparing Trump to a Catholic saint. How warped and delusional is that?

  5. This is not just history of interest to those of Italian heritage it’s about history for all Americans. There will always be positive and negative aspects of history tearing down statutes won’t change those realities. How do you learn lessons from history when you eradicate them? The hate America First crowd not only wants to erase our history they want to erase our country as founded.

  6. One of Christine’s problems is she likes to ignore historical facts. Columbus never discovered America, he found what is known today as Haiti and the Domincan Republic. America was discovered by the Native Americans, the Chinese who landed on the West Coast, the Irish, and the Vikings. The Vikings even established a colony and had children there.

  7. Christine has built a reputation on her social media platforms where she can ridicule and block anyone who points out that her obsessions with abortion, Italians, the Catholic Church, and her willingness to twist history for her own benefit. It is clear that even though she attended an elite school like Bryn Mwar and her father’s reputation for doing the right thing during the Civil Rights Movement. She has turned into someone who hates and fears anyone different from her.

    Fortunately she can’t block comments that call ger out for what she is.

Leave a (Respectful) Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *