Christopher Columbus wars renewed in New Haven
New Haven often provides Connecticut with the guilty pleasure of what might be best described as an unreality show.
Last weekend the show pitted people of Italian ancestry and the Knights of Columbus against organizations focused on more recent immigrants. They held dueling observances of Columbus Day, the holiday honoring the great navigator, an Italian sailing for Spain who, while not really the first European discoverer of the New World, popularized it enough to set off colonization.
If not quite as much adored, Columbus is still respected in New Haven, since, as Realtor.com reported this month, the New Haven metropolitan area has the country's largest share of people of Italian descent, 21%. But having designated itself a "sanctuary city" and being home to Yale University, New Haven may also be the country's city with the biggest share of illegal immigrants and the country's most politically correct city.
This was a volatile combination on the approach of Oct. 12, Columbus Day.
According to the Yale Daily News, elected officials gathered to hang wreaths on a fence around a statue of Columbus in Wooster Square. Then the enemies of Columbus held a protest rally outside a public school in the city's Fair Haven neighborhood, the Christopher Columbus Family Academy. They wanted it renamed.
Marco Castillo, director of the Transnational Villages Network in New York, told the protesters: "It is unacceptable that a school in New Haven is named after the biggest murderer in the world."
What? The biggest murderer in the world isn't Donald Trump, George W. Bush, or even Hitler or Stalin? And for whom should the school be named − maybe paragons of Latin American civilization like Che Guevara, Hugo Chavez, Augusto Pinochet, or Juan Peron?
The protesters wanted Columbus Day to be redesignated Indigenous Peoples Day, as is happening in politically correct jurisdictions that are not quite as Italian as New Haven.
New Haven's U.S. representative, Rosa DeLauro, participated in the Columbus celebration in Wooster Square. She told the newspaper she opposed erasing Columbus' name from the school, and while she sounded unhappy to be caught between competing constituents, she spotted the irony of the protest against Columbus.
"Today we have a serious immigration issue," DeLauro said. "We ought to be more focused on the repression of immigrants today than concerning ourselves with trying to denigrate someone else who created an immigrant experience."
Indeed, those opposing Columbus in New Haven also oppose enforcement of federal immigration law. But if they could project themselves back in time to the Bahamas in 1492 they might begin to realize that sovereignty belongs only to those who defend their borders. Columbus' foes resent the uncontrolled immigration he helped trigger five centuries ago but not the uncontrolled immigration negligently allowed by the United States today. No, Columbus' opponents want more uncontrolled immigration now.
The advocacy of Indigenous Peoples Day in New Haven adds to the irony, since these days the only people not indigenous to New Haven are the very illegal immigrants for whom the city's political correctness makes excuses comprehensively.
Columbus Day should be renamed, not for "indigenous peoples" but for government employees, since they are really the only ones being honored anymore as taxpayers keep paying them not to work.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.
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