John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Kamala and Columbus

Posted on October 6, 2020
Mike Pence should ask Kamala Harris where she stands on Columbus Day.


Benjamin Harrison declared the first official Columbus Day in the United States, after a mob of bigots murdered 11 Italians in New Orleans.


Harrison faced intense pressure internally, from a growing sea of Italian immigrants, and externally, from the newly formed Italian nation.  His declaration was a one-time affair.


In 1934, the Knights of Columbus successfully lobbied the Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt to make Columbus Day a more regular celebration, the same Knights of Columbus that Kamala Harris intimated was some sort of hate group because it opposes abortion.


But it wasn’t until 1968 that Columbus Day was made into a federal holiday.


San Francisco, home of Nancy Pelosi, hosts the longest continuous celebration of Christopher Columbus.  They have been hosting their parade since 1868.


Pelosi now heads a Democratic Party notably very hostile to Mr. Columbus.  Elements of the party have torn down Columbus statues across the country.


Christopher Columbus has his own complicated history.  He was Italian but his trip was financed by the Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella.  It was the first of many voyages led by the Spanish and the Portuguese, who successfully colonized a vast swath of the Americas.


Many Hispanics looked fondly upon Columbus, because their culture, their language, their customs would not have been exported to America without him.


When I was growing up, we celebrated Christopher Columbus unambiguously.  We all learned about the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, and how in 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the oceans blue.


I don’t know if our public schools are allowed to teach about Mr. Columbus anymore.  I imagine many of the teachers who are supposed to be in school today have been on the front lines in tearing down the Columbus statues.


Joe Biden likes to fancy himself as the ethnic candidate, the Mass-going Irish Catholic who fingers rosary beads and chants prayers continuously.  But where does Joe Biden stand on the actual Catholic who is credited for finding this continent? And does he agree with his running mate who says that being a member of the Knights of Columbus should disqualify a person from being a Federal judge?


Christopher Columbus was the first European to see Jamaica, where Donald Harris, Kamala’s father, was born.  Harris has expressed her disdain for the Knights of Columbus.  Where does she stand on Mr. Columbus himself?


These are not trivial questions.


The Democrats have engaged in a painful and bitter reexamination of American history.  They have led the fight to discredit our Founding Fathers.  They have supported efforts to tear down statues honoring all manner of American heroes and anti-heroes, from Junipero Serra to Abraham Lincoln, from Ulysses S. Grant to Robert E. Lee.


And they are leading the fight to tear down Christopher Columbus and the organizations that strongly support his memory.  They are the one pushing to rename Columbus Day something else, anything else.


Either you believe in the idea of American exceptionalism or you don’t.  Either you believe that we all came to the New World to create a better world order, as destined by our Creator, or you think that America was founded by a bunch of racists who don’t deserve to be celebrated, who created a Constitution that doesn’t deserve to be preserved.


Christopher Columbus was a flawed man who most likely didn’t even set foot on the mainland of the United States.  His journey to the New World was based on a miscalculation and he never found the riches that he hoped to find.


But we don’t necessarily celebrate the man.  We celebrate his journey, we celebrate his courage, we celebrate his audacity and we celebrate the spirit of exploration that has always made this country a special place.


The Democrats used to be on board with that kind of celebration.  I don’t think they are anymore.

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