The White House’s Politicized Statement on Columbus Day


Anthony Abrahantes

The White House released a statement on Columbus Day highlighting Christopher Columbus’ achievements but failed to acknowledge his wrong doings.

Lucia Chico, Staff Writer

Every year, as a form of commemorating Cristopher Columbus’ impactful voyage to the New World, the President of the United States must proclaim the second Monday of October as Columbus Day. The annual proclamation, which can be found on the White House web page, begins by introducing Columbus’s voyage, briefly discusses its impact on the United States and gives the president’s point of view on the subject. Contrary to the proclamations that former President Barrack Obama released, in which he discussed both the importance of Columbus’s voyage as well as condemned his atrocities, President Donald Trump praised Columbus and in no way mentioned the pain and suffering that he put so many indigenous people through. Donald Trump has once again refused to acknowledge the horrific actions of White colonists, instead blaming his opposing side for “dividing” the country for speaking out against offensive topics like these and being against the White-washed history that Trump so greatly supports.

This year’s proclamation on the issue began with stating the traditional historical background: “is because of Columbus’s courage that the New World was discovered and thus the United States came to be”. Overall, the beginning of the statement is just the redundant overview of why Columbus was significant enough to dedicate a whole day in his honor.

Discussing how the founding of the New World would be the foundation of globalization we see today, Trump quickly turns to politicize things once more. He claims that “radical activists” and “extremists” want to rewrite history to make Columbus out to be a man who did not accomplish important things but rather that he was a man with inhumane judgement. That is simply not true. No one ever advocated for the revision of history on this matter, all people want is for the horrors that Columbus and his fellow colonizers inflicted on the natives to be recognized as something just as significant as all that he did for Europe and for future countries. The Native Americans living there were stripped from all their rights and were forcibly relocated to unfamiliar territories with many having to participate in physical labor. Trump is just trying to make liberals look like people who do not care about history as it is and want to write it in a way that conforms to their ideologies. This argument is simply baseless. Yet again, Trump has decided to politicize a subject and pitted liberals and conservatives against one another over a factual point in history.

One of the main reasons we learn history is to understand the failures of the past and not repeat them, and by ignoring all the flaws of historical figures,that key lesson of learning from the past mistakes will cause future problems and suffering,

— sophomore Lucas Betancourt

Concerningly, President Trump then went on to talk about his goals to ensure that young Americans receive a “patriotic education.” He also elaborated on the executive order that he passed in September that serves to undo the so-called “racially divisive” concepts in children’s history classrooms when this is actually just White-washed history that has long prevailed in American children’s classrooms. The story of Thanksgiving, for example, has always been a story of the American “Indians” coming together with the first English settlers, a story that completely misrepresents the relationship that the Natives and English had. Learning even the most unfortunate and horrific parts of history is vital to understanding the rest of history and most importantly, for understanding the current social issues we face. Trump claims to be steering away from a revised version of history like this. But, the only way to properly implement an education on our history that is as unbiased as possible will be through including both sides of the story in these textbooks. Implementing a patriotic education is not making America or those who contribute to our history look like just heroes, it is about accepting all of American history and learning from it, especially its flaws.

“American history, and all history, should be taught unbiased, showing the whole truth and what happened from every perspective. What Columbus did was extremely impactful for this country, but he should not be remembered as a hero. His racism, viciousness and rape tendencies should not be overlooked when talking about him,” sophomore Elise Ballart said.

History is about seeing the mistakes of the past and learning from them. Yes, Columbus should be accounted for in students’ history books for all that he accomplished, but it must also be acknowledged that it was done at the expense of many vulnerable lives and cultures. It is unfortunate to see President Trump’s racist and ignorant attitude in the statement and incitement of more hate and division. No topic is safe from Trump claiming that the left is at fault for acknowledging wrong doings, like with Christopher Columbus Day.