Honoring Columbus Day and American tradition

By Ray Hanania

Monday is "Columbus Day," although given the wave of reverse racism and anti-mainstream hatred sweeping America these days, you would not have known.

The protestors assert Columbus was a racist foreign colonial settler, and that America was already discovered. Therefore Columbus should not be honored with the thousands of statues that have been erected in his honor since the United States was founded in the mid-18th Century.

None of the mainstream news media, the TV news broadcasts, the Left or even the City of Chicago acknowledged Columbus Day. I'm not surprised about Chicago which is turning into a real-life version of the 1981 Hollywood movie "Escape from New York" Chicago has become a self-imposed maximum "insecurity" prison for law-abiding citizens imprisoned by growing lawlessness, looting and street gang violence that neither Mayor Lori Lightfoot or the Black Lives Matter protestors care to stop.

Bashing Columbus is just the frontline of this new wave of racist hatred spreading across America that is directed against anyone who is "mainstream," or not a flaming leftwing reverse racist, the country's new movement of intolerance that has disguised itself as seeking "diversity" and "justice."

They anti-Columbus haters hide behind racist slogans like "White silence is violence" and "No justice, no peace."

It's not justice when you claim you have been left out of a system an exaggeration by the way and then you respond by excluding and marginalizing those you disagree with. The voices of the protestors have been almost inaudible in denouncing the looters and violence that has accompanied their protests and the tearing down of the statues.

The protestors are also demanding the removal of statues of George Washington, America's first president and not because he told a lie when he was young. Henry Lee, the father of General Robert E. Lee and the author of the resolution honoring Washington after his death, declared Washington was, "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

Not anymore, clearly. Protestors are tearing down both Columbus statues and Washington statues and they are doing it illegally without going through the Democratic process they claim they support but in reality do not.

For me, this year, it isn't just Columbus Day. It is Columbus Week. The hypocrisy of the anti-Columbus Day and anti-Washington protesters is glaring.

They dislike Columbus because they claim America was already "discovered." Yes, by a nation of Native Americans, who by the way violently and brutally wiped out and even enslaved the people who were here before them.

They complain Washington was a "slave holder." According to the protestors, only White Americans had slaves but that's not true, either. Many of the slaves brought to America from Africa were sold to European slavers by African tribes and profiteers. Yes, African tribes and powers enslaved people, too.

In fact, I would argue there has been slavery and racism in every society, not just here in America.

I sympathize with the Native Americans who suffered at the hands of our government from the time the Spaniards arrived until slavery was abolished by a White man named Abraham Lincoln. They have been abused and mistreated.

America also fought a war in part to end slavery. And 100 years later, African Americans were given equal rights and benefits to assist them to evolve in society along with everyone else. Yet, Lincoln's statue was toppled, too.

To me, Columbus is an icon. His discovery of America for the Europeans was a major event. History is replete with people who are brutalized and subjugated. It happens all the time. But some political opportunists seem to pick and choose who to champion and who to demonize. I think the picking and choosing less to do with justice and morality, and more to do with selfish politics.

I don't hear the protestors speaking about their history of violence, how their side coddled and embraced violence against the people who were here before them. Most of the Native Americans migrated to the Americas from Asia, wiping out people who were in their way.

I will continue to celebrate Columbus Day, which is held on Oct. 12, the day the Columbus arrived in the Americas, and was later designated as a national holiday celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October.

If we really want to honor the first people who lived in America, celebrating "Indigenous Day" is as much a lie as celebrating Columbus Day.

Maybe we should erect a statue of the Neanderthals, because they were here even before the Native Americas and were wiped out without any sympathy at all.



A couple of readers sent me the audio they received of an anonymous robocall that criticizes Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau's turbulent and unproductive first term in office.

The robocall was stupid, although it included many facts. The voice was obviously computer-generated. No one claimed credit for it. Clearly if someone wanted to undermine and raise concerns about Pekau's tyrannical rule, the robocall doesn't even come close.

Pekau has called these anonymous robocalls "vicious" and a part of a political campaign to challenge his fairy tale myth that he has been a good mayor. He hasn't been a good mayor at all.

I hope the Justice Department investigates these anonymous robocalls and determines who is doing them because they are illegal. They are far from wrong but Pekau has cited them as evidence of how he has been unfairly criticized.

That's the real tragedy because Pekau has been more vicious and has made more personal attacks against others than the robocalls have made about him.

Pekau has attacked pretty much every person who holds public office who has ever disagreed with him.

He rules the village like a Soviet Era tyrant, something anyone can see by watching the board meeting broadcasts online. Pekau constantly bullies elected officials on the board who try to challenge his ruthless and wrong policies, like Dan Calandriello and Jim Dodge. And, he bullies them and others in his weekly eNewsletters, twisting and distorting facts to make himself look like he is the victim when he is not.

In 45 years of covering politics and government, in my opinion, Pekau is the worst elected official. What makes him the worst public official is not based on the issues he says he supports. It's based on his clear hypocrisy. Like when Calandriello asked the board in April to explore ways to help local businesses suffering because of the Coronavirus. Instead of embracing the idea, Pekau attacked and bullied Calandriello, and called him a political grandstander. One month later, however, Pekau did exactly what Calandriello suggested, claiming to want to help the businesses in Orland Park. The real issue? Pekau wanted the credit for himself, not Calandriello. He can't stand anyone who outshines him, which is pretty easy to do.

Too little, too late, Mayor!

Pekau has attacked me repeatedly -- like when I do what he fails to do, provide Orland Park residents data on how many people have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Where is that information on the Village website, by the way? Anywhere?

The daily data from the Illinois Department of Public Health shows COVID-19 infections continue to rise in erratic spikes. They rose 50 percent in July, maintained a threatening rate in August and spiked during the last few weeks of September.

Pekau says the infection rate in August was 9.6 a day and was "only" 9.1 in September. "Puh-lease," Mayor. You are so irresponsible. The daily infection numbers jumped high in the final week of September. It should be troubling for any responsible public leader. Nine Orland Park residents are infected EVERY DAY ... that should be troubling, not a political weapon in your ruthless arsenal of denial.

The steadily rising infection rate is troubling enough. The fact Pekau doesn't seem to care is worse.

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. He writes on mainstream issues for several Southwest regional newspapers and for the Patch each week. He also covers Middle East issues for the Arab News which has bureaus in Riyadh, Dubai, Japan, France, Pakistan, London, New York and Chicago. Reach him on his website at http://www.Hanania.com. And, he does government media consulting work.)

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Honoring Columbus Day and American tradition - Patch.com

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