No one will blame you if you forgot that today was Columbus Day. In years past, passionate voices would proclaim it Indigenous People’s Day, even though the name “Columbus Day” is a matter of law.
But this year, there are no vicious arguments, no condemnation of Columbus’ acts toward natives. Other than the fact that some won’t go to work today, it’s as if no one cares in light of more pressing horrors.
There is nothing about Columbus Day on the front page of the New York Times or the Washington Post. There’s no mention at the Harvard Crimson or the Yale Daily News. President Biden didn’t wish anyone a happy Columbus Day. Neither did Trump.
Is this a slap at Italian Americans, for whom the holiday was created? Is this a reflection of our focus on the blood of the moment? Is this good or bad, or just the way it is now? Terrible things are happening in the world, and they are far more important than wishing others a happy holiday. And yet, we can manage to maintain our focus on more important matters and also remember holidays.
But unlike other holidays, like our newest federal holiday, Juneteenth, Columbus Day is no longer a day to celebrate in many quarters. even if it “technically” remains on the books. It was on the verge of being canceled before. Now, it’s just forgotten, like so much that happened before the great awakening. Some of us, however, remember, even if it was never a big deal holiday in our lives.
To those of you who celebrate Columbus Day, I wish you a happy holiday.