The current rage for tearing down statues and renaming things has reached a sort of reductio ad absurdum: the city of Columbus, Ohio has removed the statue of Christopher Columbus from in front of its City Hall. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The city of Columbus, Ohio, this week unceremoniously evicted a 16-foot bronze statue . . . of Christopher Columbus. “For many people in our community, the statue represents patriarchy, oppression and divisiveness,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther, giving the removal order two weeks ago. “That does not represent our great city.”
Which great city, precisely? He forgot to mention. Or perhaps the mayor is going to start referring to his town euphemistically as “Ohio’s capital” and so forth, the way some people refuse to say the name of the Washington Redskins football team. This could make campaigning for his re-election rather awkward: Vote Ginther for mayor of [Unmentionable Racist].
Those who want to destroy the memory of Christopher Columbus do so because they think the discovery of the New World was a mistake, or a tragedy. They have a vision, apparently, of a Stone Age culture continuing in perpetuity over which jets ferry passengers from Europe to Asia. No United States–Columbus never set foot on what is now American territory–no Canada, no Mexico, no Cuba, no Brazil, no Argentina.
Leftists might dishonestly claim that they object to Columbus not because of the discovery per se, but because of his personal failings. Shockingly, the man who drove a motley collection of tough sailors–unimaginably tough, by our standards–to and fro across the uncharted Atlantic, was not Mr. Rogers.
On the other hand, he was a prince of a fellow compared with, say, the psychopathic mass murderer Che Guevara. Or the serial killers on an industrial scale, Lenin, Stalin, Castro and Mao, all of whom are A-OK, apparently, with American liberals.
No: the anti-Columbus mania is anti-Americanism, plain and simple.
But it does raise a lot of questions. The Journal article notes that well over 100,000 people have signed a petition to rename Columbus “Flavortown.” Don’t ask. And Columbus, Ohio is relatively small potatoes. How about Washington, DC? If George Washington is canceled, our nation’s capital will have to change its name. Not just Washington, but D.C.–the District of Columbia, another tribute to the pariah Christopher C.
And that is only the beginning: Columbia, South Carolina; Columbus, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin; Lincoln, Nebraska; Washington state; Virginia, named in honor of the imperialist Queen Elizabeth; both Carolinas, named after several Charleses, Charles IX of France and Charles I and Charles II of England, all of whom were hopelessly incorrect by contemporary standards; Jefferson, Missouri; the George Washington bridge; Madison, Wisconsin; Hamilton College; the list goes on forever. These are just a few samples. And, of course, the United States of America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, another explorer like Columbus who must equally be canceled because the discovery of the Americas was an unrelieved tragedy.
The list never ends! If we are going to erase all history that doesn’t live up to the elevated standards of Pajama Boy, that hero of world history, let’s be consistent. In the liberals’ brave new world, only place names taken from the Indians, like Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and the Dakotas, will be permitted. But wait, no! Those are all cultural appropriations!
It is not easy to see what will survive. Maybe Washington state can be renamed after Stalin. Maybe Madison can become Mao Tse-Tung, Wisconsin. Only it won’t be Wisconsin. But never mind: if we are going to go around the bend, let’s go all the way around the bend. And let liberals and the Democratic Party own it.