Last month, the Dallas City Council, with a majority of whose members who wish to signal their supposed virtue, approved a paid holiday for city employees for what they decided would be called Indigenous People’s Day. It’s actually to be commemorated on October 11, a Monday, rather than the traditional October 12, which is the day in 1492 when Christopher Columbus made landfall on an island in the Bahamas. When a city employee those many years ago, I suppose would have been grateful for a another paid holiday, but as a non-employee taxpayer, am now less enthusiastic. Even so, because I regard myself as indigenous, having been born in this country and hemisphere, and also recognize the heroism of the man to venture into the unknown, I observe the day, and encourage all other fellow indigenous persons to do so, along with our immigrants who have come here lawfully.
As a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, and the efforts of a number of prominent Italian-Americans, including the colorful Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael Musmanno, Congress requested President Franklin Roosevelt to proclaim October 12 as a day in which the people of the United States are invited to observe the anniversary of the discovery of America. Columbus Day was made federal holiday in 1966. Such observance has recently been criticized, sometimes violently, by the left-wing in the United States.
I have posted several essays regarding the recent trashing of Christopher Columbus and various monuments to him in recent years his sin being the inauguration of European colonization and the subsequent globalization of trade, industrialization, and Western Civilization. Those interested can read the posts at these links. https://bobreagan13.com/2020/10/12/celebrate-columbus-day/
Last year’s post mentioned one Richard Taylor, an adjunct professor of history at St. John’s College in Queens, one of New York City’s boroughs. Taylor was disciplined and ultimately fired for opening a discussion in his class as to whether the benefits outweighed some of the negatives of the globalization that Columbus’ voyages of discovery began. The professor was accused of all kinds of supposed heinousness, which amounted to being politically incorrect in a university where some students with nothing better to do denounced him and whose administration is terrified of being non-woke. Taylor is fighting back. One Ronald Russo, a partner in a prominent New York City law firm, is representing Taylor pro bono, and with the backing of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have sued the college and several of its administrators individually. See https://www.thefire.org/taylor-v-st-johns-february-4-2021/
The FIRE has had remarkable success in defending students, faculty, and in some cases, administrators and employees of universities and colleges whose ability to examine controversial idea and academic freedom have been violated. Of course, private institutions are not necessarily held to Constitutional rights standards as are state-supported and sponsored ones. Nevertheless, a private university or college is held to the same laws concerning defamation, contract duties, and employment practices is anyone else. One hopes that Taylor is successful and St. John’s is held to its publicly stated mission of free inquiry.
Note: This writer is a donor to and supporter of The FIRE, but not otherwise affiliated with the organization.