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JOHNSTON: Columbus haters are missing the boat on history
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JOHNSTON: Columbus haters are missing the boat on history

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Christopher Columbus (copy)

Christopher Columbus shouldn’t be blamed for the acts of others.

I CANNOT stand stupidity.

Often, there is an excuse for ignorance, but not for stupidity.

This is Columbus Day weekend in most of America. In Virginia, it is not, because Gov. Ralph Northam axed it earlier this year.

Columbus Day, you see, is offensive to some people. Christopher Columbus, the man who is credited with discovering America, is now despised by many who live in the land that the Italian explorer risked life and limb to find.

How stupid is that? To say you despise Columbus for discovering America is like saying you despise your own existence. If it were not for Columbus, none of these offended people would be here to be offended.

The reason behind all this offensiveness is that Columbus’ discovering of America destroyed the Native American culture and led to white settlement, which was responsible for the slave trade.

In other words, there are those who would punish Christopher Columbus and his legacy for the acts of others, acts that occurred more than a century after the explorer’s death. That is a pretty stupid idea.

But that’s the thinking and back during the late spring when the statue-removing frenzy was at its height, Columbus began suffering the wrath of the hatemongers. Statues of the explorer were torn down and defaced and Northam, bowing to political correctness, did away with Columbus Day in Virginia.

Does anyone in his right mind really believe that if Columbus had not discovered America someone else would not have? The late 1400s and the early 1500s was a period of exploration in Europe. Ships were sailing everywhere.

If Columbus had not set out to find a sea route to the Far East, someone else would have. And they would likely have stumbled on the North and South American continents. After all, if you’re sailing west from Europe they are pretty hard to miss.

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But somebody has to be blamed for all the bad things that have happened in America in the past 500-plus years, so we go back to Columbus. If he hadn’t discovered America, none of this would have happened.

If you really want to trace America’s problems back to their origin, why not blame God? If God had not created man, there would have been no Columbus to discover America.

If God had not created trees, there would have been no wood to build ships to carry Columbus across the Atlantic.

If God had not endowed humans with a superior brain, then Columbus would not have had the ability to conceive that the world is round and going west could take a ship to the Far East.

So will the Bible, which is the word of God, be banned next? Will some governor do away with Sunday because it is the Lord’s Day and the Heavenly Father created man, trees and the human brain? Will statues of Jesus, part of the Holy Trinity, be defaced and taken down next?

There is no question that the Indians were treated badly by European settlers who wanted free land, but that is not the fault of Columbus. He merely discovered the Americas. So how does taking down his statue and blemishing his name make up for what those after him did?

Will Catholic churches be burned next? After all, it was the Church that gave Indians the option of converting or dying. Do we blame Pope Francis for what Catholic priests and conquistadors did 400 years ago?

This mess is getting pretty absurd. Do the people who want to destroy Columbus’ legacy know anything about history? Do they even care? Do they give him no credit for having the courage and faith to explore the high seas?

You can rewrite history, but that just makes you a liar because no matter how you try to hide it, the truth of what really happened will always be there.

And like Columbus, someone will always be courageous enough to seek it out.

We are one of the most educated countries in this world, yet sometimes we act as if stupidity is a virtue.

Columnist Donnie Johnston lives in Culpeper County. Email him at

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