No 1492, No 1776 — That’s Why the Left Hates Columbus

Without October 12th, We Wouldn't Have July 4th

This bronze statue of Christopher Columbus stands in Providence, Rhode Island. It was sculpted in 1893 by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi.

By Peter Wolfgang Published on October 12, 2020

Without October 12th, we wouldn’t have July 4th. No Columbus, no “all men are created equal.” And no Constitution, no ordered freedom, no freedom of religion and speech.

That’s the bottom line. For all Columbus’ alleged faults (some of them real, some of them not), our civilization on this continent begins with his discovery of America. There is a direct line from it to all that we love about the United States of America.

And there is a direct line from all the horrors that America defeated in the 20th century to anti-Columbus sentiment today. The “woke” who want to remove Columbus from our common life don’t just reject one man. That one man stands for a whole civilization they hate. He stands for America.

America After Cultural Marxism

Our ancestors did some pretty bad things. That’s true. The “woke” think that means our nation has been corrupt from its earliest beginnings. Many Christians believe this, because they swallowed Cultural Marxism without even knowing it.

What do they think is the alternative to the heritage they attack? Do they think we will live in some racism-free paradise after American history is erased?

Won’t happen. What will happen, instead, is what is hinted at in the quote on the front page of my newspaper this morning. The Columbus statue in front of City Hall was decapitated on the 4th of July. The head has been repaired and returned to the city. Voters will decide whether to put the statue up again.

The article in the Waterbury Republican-American quotes a “community activist” who makes it plain as day that it will be vandalized again and that she is ok with that. “I don’t expect the statue to remain untouched,” said Athena Wagner. “I don’t care what they do. If they leave it there, be prepared.”

Even if the people who live in the city want the statue up, the “community activists” will make sure it comes down. People who have such contempt for our history have equal contempt for democracy. When the votes go against them, that is.

America’s Best

America’s greatest contribution to world history is the rule of law. Our nation built on the best that came before us to create a system of ordered freedom. An unprecedented system that both extended personal liberty farther than any government before it and secured public order without repression.

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Even the lapses in that good cause — and they are many — prove the goodness of the principles. They are so good that we continually struggle to attain them. How else could Martin Luther King, Jr., tell America that our founding documents are a promissory note that has come due — and get results?

Why did white America listen to him? Because we believe, as King said, that the American founding promised  that “all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the ‘unalienable Rights’ of ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’.”

No, it’s still not perfect. It’s never going to be perfect. America will never be all she promises to be. No Christian familiar with the Fall and Original Sin will be shocked by that. But America strives more than other places to make itself more perfect. To become “a more perfect union,” as the Preamble to our Constitution has it.

It All Begins with Columbus

That’s what you’re giving up when you turn on Columbus. You’re not just criticizing one very imperfect man. You kick out the foundations from under our own civilization.

That Columbus was not the first to arrive here, that he did not land on the soil of what would one day be the USA, that he thought he was in India, is totally beside the point. That he was not as good a man as he should have been is also beside the point.

All the good that the Founders sought to build, that Lincoln and Martin Luther King sought to redeem, begins on this continent with him. What he began with his courageous exploration grew into America.

It grew into that great beacon of freedom that put down the mad dogs of Nazism and Communism. The nation that so believed in freedom that it spent its own men and treasure to secure freedom for peoples of every continent. The nation that found totalitarianism so offensive it fought it at every turn.

Fascism the Foe

That same defeated foe, fascism, now strikes back at Columbus and through him at America. It calls itself “progressive,” but it’s not. It exploits American freedoms to teach the toxic resentments of Cultural Marxism.

That is what the “community activist” quoted on the front page of my paper today promises. That is what “woke” Christians pave the way for, when they embrace the anti-American narrative of the Left.

Don’t be blind to the ugliness of our own history. But don’t be blind to the greater ugliness of the anti-Columbus protests. Because it’s an attack on our history — and the best parts of our history. The parts of our history that changed the world for the better.

Vandalizing the Columbus statue is no “mostly peaceful protest.” It’s a radical act. It’s a revolutionary statement. If you think I’m overreacting because it’s only a statue, you don’t know history.

It starts with the destruction of national symbols. It begins with the beheading of statues. It doesn’t end there.


Peter Wolfgang is president of Family Institute of Connecticut Action. He lives in Waterbury, Connecticut, with his wife and their seven children. The views expressed on The Stream are solely his own.

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