White House Praises "Splendor" of Columbus, Blasts "Radicals" for "Bleak" History
Not long after celebrating Leif Erikson as the first European to “discover” America, the White House issued another proclamation marking the Columbus Day holiday with a dark message mixing effusive praise for the violent explorer with angry ranting about ideologues who are trying to destroy traditionally heroic historical narratives. The proclamation began on an odd note, praising Italian-Americans in stereotypical terms straight out of a 1950s Hollywood movie, writing of immigrants being inspired by Columbus to journey to the United States to bring to these shores their “rich Italian heritage,” “warmth and generosity,” and “love of family.” It was not Columbus that drove Italians to America, but the rampant poverty of southern Italy and the indifference of the Piedmont ruling class to the plight of the conquered peoples of the south they had recently added to the new Kingdom of Italy. But, sure, whatever. Then the proclamation got weird.
Sadly, in recent years, radical activists have sought to undermine Christopher Columbus’s legacy. These extremists seek to replace discussion of his vast contributions with talk of failings, his discoveries with atrocities, and his achievements with transgressions. Rather than learn from our history, this radical ideology and its adherents seek to revise it, deprive it of any splendor, and mark it as inherently sinister. They seek to squash any dissent from their orthodoxy. We must not give in to these tactics or consent to such a bleak view of our history. We must teach future generations about our storied heritage, starting with the protection of monuments to our intrepid heroes like Columbus.
What is there even to say? Rather than learn from history, Trump seeks to destroy it, deprive it of truth, and mark it as a tool of politics and propaganda. We must not give in to these tactics or consent to an incomplete, deceptive view of history. Very little in history is all good or all bad, and what benefited Europe had costs for Native Americans. Admitting as much is not bleak, but merely acknowledging reality.
The Trump proclamation then detoured into a lengthy list of grievances about statues and racial sensitivity training before delivering a 1950s lecture about pioneers and explorers who “settled a continent [and] tamed the wilderness.” Sure, it was totally empty. You know, after killing off or pushing out all the Native Americans. Trump ended by praising the “optimism” of Columbus, and there he got one thing right: There is nothing more like Trump than to blindly go sailing into the dark, ending up in the wrong place, acting like a cruel ass, and somehow lucking into success.
The proclamation came only hours after former America Unearthed host Scott F. Wolter gave a lengthy interview in which he, among other things, claimed that Panama has an ancient colony of blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryans who were still there in the 1920s.
Apparently, Wolter learned nothing. The famed “white” Indians of Darien, Panama, are not Caucasian at all. First reported in the 17th century, they became famous when eugenicists, American racists, and the Nazis declared them evidence of a lost Aryan race. The Association for the Advancement of Science even pressured Washington to demand Panama protect them as a special Aryan colony. But as science discovered, they were not Aryans but albinos, a special genetic case of incomplete albinism, as I discussed when Wolter first made the claim in 2013, in a review of his book that I know he read.
Wolter also endorsed a Victorian newspaper hoax about tens of thousands of dwarf human bodies being found in Tennessee, a claim so ridiculous even the Victorians laughed at it. Wolter believes the Smithsonian made all the bones disappear.
Trump and Wolter, completely opposed on every issue, nevertheless both manage to be upset about vast conspiracies seeking to destroy real history in favor of radical ideologies. Coming at the idea from opposite angles, and celebrating opposite historical narratives, they both somehow end up centering their imagined history on the glory of white guys. Go figure.
10/12/2020 04:42:53 pm
Many Christians believe that God is the author of human history, and as such, He cares about history-truth...no matter the color.
10/12/2020 06:18:55 pm
The Kensington Rune Stone
10/12/2020 11:37:40 pm
Quoting Magnus Magnusson from 1978
10/13/2020 10:43:21 am
Hi Jim...maybe we could start by you explaining how the KRS was adorned with a "dotted-R" before that rune was known to exist in modern times (20th century). In other words, explain how Olof or another would-be hoaxer knew to use a dotted-R, which, for all intents and purposes, did not exist?
10/13/2020 04:18:10 pm
The Vinland Map is real. Touched up at some point but still genuine.
10/13/2020 08:08:02 pm
Metal objects that farmer bob claims that that granddad dug up on the south 40 back in the 60s. Holes in rock found in places where people cut a lot of holes in rocks to plant explosives. Petroglyphs showing somebody that kind of looks like a viking if you hold your head sideways and squint really hard while staring at it at dusk.
10/14/2020 05:42:18 am
The rune run language on the KRS has been shown to be in common use in 19th century Sweden with a number of self dating locations and examples.
10/12/2020 10:00:39 pm
The “proclamation” reminds me of the corny, patronizing speech that Senator Geary gave about Italians as he excused himself from the Senate committee hearing during the interrogation of Michael Corleone in Godfather Part II.
Again, a little "stretching" of history, but not too much for a political statement.
10/13/2020 09:12:21 am
And Christianity introduced civilization to impose its religion and the Bible. Irish and French Catholics have argued that Columbus, who “brought the Christian faith to half the world,” should be named a saint. Though the move had the approval of Pope Pius IX (reign 1846–1878), Columbus was never canonized because he fathered an illegitimate child, and there was no proof he had performed a miracle.
10/13/2020 11:31:44 pm
Even those natives that accepted Christianity are treated like second-class citizens.
10/16/2020 05:03:39 am
> the poverty of the Italian South is a topic until today, after so many Socialist governments in Italy.
Timothy Newman, nobody claimed that the problem was caused by Socialism. The claim was that it was not solved by socialism. And not caused by the Piemont kings.
10/17/2020 10:45:12 pm
It would be helpful if you would explain at the time what your point is (die Karten aufecken?) instead of going back and retconning when challenged.
10/13/2020 11:52:52 am
Trump has been checking off a number of boxes in the days leading up to the election
10/22/2020 02:54:17 pm
Think you're right.Just doing a Forrest Gump. My grandfather had served as secretary and president of the meat cutters union in Milwaukee.This back between the 1930s to 50s.Never was interested in Public Office, even though there were men who wanted him to run. But let's say he did run.He'd be in those ethnic neighbors, speaking italian, polish, spanish, his native german and Yiddish. You think with Trump being a New Yorker, he'd know this and go into these areas. He doesn't care.
10/13/2020 04:36:42 pm
Gee, my ancestors come from Duluth Minnesota, and this alleged 9,000 years ago man was not in the history books.
10/15/2020 10:59:39 am
If I remember correctly, the lengths of th marks on the Kensington Runestone were found to be in inches. But if you are Iiving
10/18/2020 02:14:47 pm
Everybody is missing the Long Game. Trump has been saying in his state rallies if they don't vote for him for he will never come back to that state as long as he lives (those kinds of threats may actually garner votes for the Democratic ticket). Now he is saying he may have to leave the country altogether if he loses.
10/18/2020 08:20:49 pm
Taking everything Trump says seriously is either the royal road to success in every aspect of life or the hallmark of the idiot.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.