- The Washington Times
Sunday, October 11, 2020

Columbus Day has been around for a while. The first recorded celebration of Columbus Day in the U.S. took place on Oct. 12, 1792, and was organized by the New York City-based Society of St. Tammany — also known as the Columbian Order — to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Christopher Columbus‘ landing in the Americas.

So says the Library of Congress, which notes that the first official Columbus Day holiday took place in 1892, set forth in a proclamation by President Benjamin Harrison, who called Columbus “a pioneer of progress and enlightenment.”


In the next two decades, the Knights of Columbus, an international Roman Catholic fraternal society, lobbied state legislatures to declare Oct. 12 a legal holiday. Colorado was the first state to do so in 1907, followed by New York in 1909. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt designated Columbus Day a national holiday in 1934. In keeping with such traditions, President Trump has issued his own proclamation which praises both Columbus and Americans with Italian heritage.

But Mr. Trump took his statement further.

“For our beautiful Italian American communities — and Americans of every background — Columbus remains a legendary figure. Sadly, in recent years, radical activists have sought to undermine Christopher Columbus’s legacy. These extremists seek to replace discussion of his vast contributions with talk of failings, his discoveries with atrocities, and his achievements with transgressions. Rather than learn from our history, this radical ideology and its adherents seek to revise it, deprive it of any splendor, and mark it as inherently sinister,” Mr. Trump said.

“They seek to squash any dissent from their orthodoxy. We must not give in to these tactics or consent to such a bleak view of our history. We must teach future generations about our storied heritage, starting with the protection of monuments to our intrepid heroes like Columbus,” the president said.

“On this Columbus Day, we embrace the same optimism that led Christopher Columbus to discover the New World. We inherit that optimism, along with the legacy of American heroes who blazed the trails, settled a continent, tamed the wilderness, and built the single-greatest nation the world has ever seen.”

A RARE COLUMBUS DAY POLL

Many people wonder why the nation can’t celebrate both Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s Day without a fuss, but that’s another story. And what do polls say about Columbus Day?

One survey broached the topic four months ago, when the defacing and destruction of multiple heroic statues — including those dedicated to Columbus — was at its peak. A Just the News Daily Poll of 1,000 registered U.S. voters conducted June 18-20 by veteran pollster Scott Rasmussen asked this question: “Do you favor or oppose eliminating Columbus Day as a national holiday?”

The answers: 36% of voters “strongly oppose” nixing the holiday, 16% “somewhat oppose” it. Another 23% strongly favor and 12% somewhat favor getting rid of it while 12% were not sure.

MEANWHILE IN FLORIDA

The media went after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis plenty for his COVID-19 policies. He declined to issue a statewide face mask mandate and lifted restrictions on bars and movie theaters in early June. He also eased capacity restrictions on bars and restaurants in September.

In an interview with Fox News host Mark Levin on Sunday, Mr. DeSantis explained he was protecting those most vulnerable to coronavirus “rather than trying to suppress society as a whole” — and that he also ensured area hospitals were up to the challenge.

“But then third, and I think this is really important, we wanted society to function. You can’t burn down the village in order to save it. So if you look now, Florida’s open for business. We have everything — like theme parks — all that have been open for months. And we have kids in school in person. Parents have the option to opt for virtual learning if they want, but they have the in-person option, which is very, very important,” the governor said.”

MEANWHILE IN NORTH KOREA

North Korea staged an enormous public gathering on Saturday to honor the nation’s 75th anniversary — displaying a brand new, jumbo-sized intercontinental ballistic missile — that’s ICBM in the vernacular. The missile’s launch vehicle had 11 axles.

“If any force harms the safety of our nation, we will fully mobilize the strongest offensive might,” North Korea leader Kim Jong-un said.

“Despite North Korea being hammered this year by three typhoons, constant food insecurity issues, international sanctions and now threats from COVID-19, the Kim regime has shown the world once again its long-range missile program will continue to advance with each passing day,” say Harry J. Kazianis, senior director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest.

“What North Korea has shown us — what appears to be a new liquid-fueled ICBM that seems to be a derivative of what was tested back in late 2017, known as the Hwasong-15 — is much bigger and clearly more powerful than anything in the nation’s arsenal. Such a massive road-mobile missile — likely the biggest such missile on the planet — would have the capability to add either increased range or be able to carry a bigger payload,” the analyst notes.

“While North Korea’s growing missile capabilities are surely concerning, I would argue the bigger worry is the clear lack of any coronavirus safety measures such as masks or social distancing where thousands of people congregated. This parade could end up being the ultimate super spreader event if just a few people were to be infected,” he advises, adding that the display of such a missile “is not worth the risk.”

POLL DU JOUR

69% of U.S. adults say they are “extremely motivated” to vote; 71% of Trump voters, 72% Biden voters and 31% of third-party backers agree.

69% overall have given “a lot of thought” to the election; 71% of Trump voters and 71% of Biden voters agree.

39% overall will vote by absentee or mail-in ballot; 25% of Trump voters and 51% of Biden voters agree.

33% overall will vote in person on Election Day; 50% of Trump voters and 20% of Biden voters agree.

21% will vote in person before Election Day; 20% of Trump voters and 22% of Biden voters agree.

Source: A PEW RESEARCH CENTER poll of 11,929 U.S. adults conducted FROM SEPT. 30 TO OCT. 5.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.


Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.