Normally, we have to wait until October to get our fix of liberal Christopher Columbus outrage, but everything is accelerated in today’s hyper-charged political culture. Now the left can maintain their anger at the founder of America all year long – well, when they aren’t focused on Donald Trump, that is.
Pepperdine University in California announced this week that they would be shipping their statue of Columbus back to Italy in response to student demands. Protesters gathered around the statue last year and chanted “take it down.” They penned a statement that said the statue was a “celebration of genocide and racial oppression.”
School president Andrew Benton wrote a letter to students this week announcing the statue’s imminent trip back to Florence.
“In 1992 a group of men and women representing the Columbus 500 Congress presented a statue of Christopher Columbus to Pepperdine University,” Benton wrote. “For years the story of Columbus and the fascinating exploration that brought him to the new world was taught in schools across America. It was heroic and exciting.”
However, Benton wrote, times have changed.
“Later, as the impact of the arrival of explorers was assessed more fully, especially as those impacts related to indigenous people, a different view formed,” he said. “Today, for many, including those within our campus community, stories of conquest and the art associated therewith are painful reminders of loss and human tragedy.”
Unfortunately for those students, they will soon come to realize that loss and human tragedy are an inextricable part of being alive. That won’t change, no matter how many statues we tear down, how many days we wipe off the calendar, or how many men we erase from the history books.
But even that gives these students more credit than they deserve. Does anyone really believe that even a single student was emotionally damaged by the existence of this statue? That they fell to their knees in sorrow over the plight of the Native American whenever they saw Christopher Columbus standing before them? We doubt it quite a bit.
They are role-playing. They want to be “part of something.” They can’t find meaning in their own lives, so they’re looking around for some cause to occupy their time in between classes. If the Columbus statue hadn’t been there, they would have found something else. Now that it’s gone, in fact, that’s almost certainly what they’ll do.
Being young adults – teenagers, really – we can forgive them their ignorant enthusiasm. What we don’t understand is why these colleges and universities keep giving them everything they want.