Rocky Mountain News
On Point, January 27

January 27, 2005


In their latest flight from reality, Denver's anti- Columbus Day leaders have compared the annual parade to a rally by Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan and demanded Mayor John Hickenlooper declare the gathering unwelcome in his city. Hicken- looper has rejected this outlandish request, and no wonder. Nazis and Klan members are animated by bigotry, hatred and fear; that is the main reason people take on these identities to begin with. Intimidation is part of their historic playbook.

The history of Columbus celebrations - which came into their own in 1892 on the 400th anniversary of the explorer's arrival in the Caribbean - simply isn't burdened with the same ugly freight.

Some who pushed for a national holiday were animated by pride in Italian heritage and achievements of the immigrant community. Others saw the holiday as an opportunity to celebrate the larger accomplishments of America itself.

The parades in the decades since have continued to be affirmations of the positive - whatever Columbus himself may have said or done in a hemisphere so unenlightened at the time that cannibalism and human sacrifice were still widely practiced.

Rocky Mountain News

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