FROM OUR PRINTED 2023 EDITION
Despite Being a Federal Holiday, Radical ‘Progressives’ in Westford, Mass. Want to Cancel Columbus Day
by Kathleen Lynch
First Middlesex District
The Westford Select Board voted to add a ballot question to the May 2nd ballot. The long and biased ballot question reads, “Shall the Westford Select Board declare the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day, superseding local references to Columbus Day, and recommend that it be observed by the people of Westford, with appropriate exercises in the schools and otherwise, to acknowledge the history of genocide and discrimination against Indigenous peoples, and to recognize and celebrate the thriving cultures and continued resistance and resilience of Indigenous peoples and their tribal nations?”
In a joint session of the Select Board and the so-called “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) Committee, the topic of how to best provide an opportunity for community input regarding this ballot question renaming Columbus Day was discussed.
The Westford community spoke against this three times already!
It appears that the Select Board doesn’t want to be held accountable for their vote so they have pushed the vote to Westford voters again! First, the motion failed at Town Meeting. Second, a community survey resulted in 64% opposing the change. And third, a “community listening session” yielded 80% disapproval from residents who offered feedback. Yet, proponents of the holiday change persist in their quest to rewrite history the way they see fit.
All people are imperfect, yet Christopher Columbus is being targeted and attacked while indigenous peoples are being glorified. This is imbalanced and destructive. This move to replace one holiday with another is actually inequitable and divisive.
Christopher Columbus is famous for being a brave navigator and explorer who completed four challenging voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, opening the way for European exploration and colonization of America.
In Columbia magazine, Carol Delaney, former professor at Stanford and Brown universities, explained that “Columbus gave strict instructions to the settlers to ‘treat the native people with respect,’ though some of his men rebelled and disobeyed his orders.”
Robert Royal, author of Columbus and the Crisis of the West, wrote, “Contrary to the view that Columbus is the source of later mistreatment of Native Americans, he tried to get help in restraining that very abuse. At one point, he complained to the Spanish monarchs about the way that Spaniards were exploiting natives for gain and taking indigenous concubines. He asked them to send Christian missionaries to the Spaniards.”
Regarding indigenous peoples, let’s not overlook some horrible practices. Royal described “evil practices … among native populations… For example, there was human sacrifice in the Caribbean and even cannibalism when Columbus arrived there.”
Sadly, people are imperfect and capable of doing horrible things that deserve condemnation. At the same time, people, including Christopher Columbus and indigenous peoples, are blessed with worthy attributes and actions. Let’s not forget this fact by demonizing one and glorifying another.
Besides, a simple Internet search reveals that there is already a day for Native Americans, the Friday after Thanksgiving. And, there is a whole month in November devoted to Native American Heritage.
Advocates of this proposal to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day demonstrate a complete disregard, even contempt, for Italian Americans and members of the Catholic community, for whom Christopher Columbus is a figure of respect and admiration. Canceling Columbus Day will be an affront, which sends a message of exclusion and inequality to many citizens of Westford.
A ballot committee has been formed and a citizen petition to save Columbus Day was launched. Please sign the petition and share a comment to show your support at https://tinyurl.com/ColumbusDayPetition.
There is no need to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. Save Columbus Day!
– Kathy Lynch is Republican State Committeewoman in the First Middlesex District. You can reach her at: https://www.votekathylynch.com/contact.html.