Monday, October 10, 2011

From Wounded Knee to Wall Street: Columbus Day and Other Toxic Myths

Have you ever wondered why the United States still celebrates a national holiday honoring the guy who initiated the genocide of the native American peoples? The man who sold girls into sexual slavery, burned escaped slaves alive, and had babies killed for dog food? I have. I've wondered about it quite a bit.

It seems to me that Columbus Day's continued place on the U.S. calendar is not an oversight. We sweep the holocaust under the rug so that underlying myths, such as Manifest Destiny and Social Darwinism can continue to justify today's more civilized forms of injustice, exploitation and inhumanity.

Holidays such as Columbus Day and Thanksgiving are threads in a vast cultural tapestry stretching from San Salvador to Plymouth Rock, from Wounded Knee to Wall Street, and from Capitalism to Corporatocracy. National myths such as the Horatio Alger story still resonate today, as evidenced in this recent statement by Republican presidential candidate, Herman Cain:
“Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself. It is not a person’s fault if they succeeded, it is a person’s fault if they failed.”
I dedicate the following song and video to the 99% Movement, which is working to excise these type of toxic myths from the American heart, mind and soul.



Columbus Day
by David Elfanbaum

They set sail across the water for country and for queen
To find a new horizon that no white man had seen
They brought with them their armor, their cannon and disease
And laid waste to a people that had thrived for centuries

We built this country on their blood and their bones
We found our destiny and took their lives and homes
So why do we celebrate Columbus Day
We found a New World and we took their world away

They set sail across the ocean fleeing country and king
For their religious freedom they would do most anything
They came to this great land and claimed it for their kind
With guns and broken treaties that have brought us to this time

We built this country on their blood and their bones
We found our destiny and took their lives and homes
So why do we celebrate Thanksgiving Day
We found a New World and we took their world away

Now we fly across the oceans with stealth and guile we creep
To maximize our profit and go where labor's cheap
With lawyers, guns and money we take what we please
Leaving fast food restaurants in exchange for clear cut trees

We built this country on their blood and their bones
We found our destiny and took their lives and homes
So why do we celebrate Columbus Day
We found a New World and we took their world away

Performed by fourworlds
Source video from the Prelinger Archives

2 comments:

Scarp Godenot said...

Excellent post Botgirl, and well done with the song and video as well.

It's about time we realize that our history isn't cute and precious, but bloody and violent.

And our exploitation of underpriveledged people in developing countries is appalling and just plain wrong.

How did we get here? Well, in most western law, the number one priority is the ownership of property. It trumps all other 'rights'. This sounds innocent, but leads to massive exploitation of humans worldwide.

Good job and keep it up!

Carrie Lexington said...

Really excellent post Botgirl