WASHINGTON – The war on American history continued Monday, Columbus Day, with attacks on statues honoring the 15th century explorer.
It was so-called “social justice warriors” who attacked and in some cases defaced memorials honoring Columbus, accusing him of being a “murderous slave trader.”
It’s the latest in a series of protests that began in August when a rally against the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Top Democrats have called to remove from public grounds statues, markers and other monuments that honor Confederate figures and others regarded as racist.
More than 30 Democratic-run U.S. towns and cities have voted to change the name of Columbus Day to “Indigenous People’s Day.”
Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, South Dakota and Vermont no longer recognize the federal holiday as a day to honor Columbus.
As the first Indigenous People’s Day got underway in Los Angeles, city officials agreed to cover a Columbus statue in downtown Los Angeles’ Grand Park in white paper and surround the monument by a chain-link fence, CBS LA reported.
Columbus Statue Covered On LA’s First Indigenous Peoples Day « CBS Los Angeles https://t.co/OWrPSiU7bF
— maitri (@clarissamehler) October 9, 2017
In Providence, Rhode Island, vandals poured buckets of blood-colored paint over a Columbus statue, ABC6 reported.
A local resident endorsed the vandalism.
“The reality is there is so much blood and so much hate and imperialism in what he did and so to see it actually reflected in the art of someone coming and painting blood on the statue it feels very cathartic and good,” Jeffrey Branch told ABC6.
A Columbus statue was vandalized on Saturday in Chicago’s Little Italy. According to the Chicago Tribune, a group of three masked men shouted “F— Columbus,” “F— the USA” and “Die Columbus!” before spray- painting the head and hands of the statue.
They also painted “all colonies are burning,” “muerte al estado” and “f— Columbus” on the pedestal.
One of the perpetrators, Kyle Miskell, fell off his bike when attempting to flee police.
He has been apprehended and charged with felony criminal damage to government property.
City workers removed the graffiti, only for the statue to be defaced again hours later.
The words “mass murderer” and “decolonize” were spray-painted on the sidewalk in front of the statue that was defaced with red paint.
In New York, at least three Columbus statues have been vandalized since August.
On Sept. 12, the hands of a more than century-old Columbus statue in Central Park were painted red with graffiti and the hashtag #somethingscoming across its pedestal.
Columbus statue in Central Park defaced this morning (via FB) pic.twitter.com/PdA2kuPRPB
— Barbarian Capital (@BarbarianCap) September 12, 2017
Vandals beheaded a statue of Columbus in Yonkers, New York, on Aug. 30.
The next day, a statue of Columbus was vandalized in Astoria, Queens, with the words: “Don’t honor genocide. Take it down.”
Members of the NYPD are guarding the sculpture, a 76-foot tall statue of Columbus in Columbus circle, after New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced in September that monuments honoring Columbus would be part of a 90-day review of “all symbols of hate on city property” evaluated by his appointed commission.
After the violent events in Charlottesville, New York City will conduct a 90-day review of all symbols of hate on city property.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 16, 2017
The memorial’s defenders are promising “a fight like never before” against moves to take down Columbus.
De Blasio was showered with boos and jeers as he appeared in New York’s Fifth Avenue Columbus Day parade, as New Yorkers demanded the city leave the Columbus Circle landmark alone.
“Go home, Bill,” “Leave Columbus alone,” “Save the statue, otherwise you’re German!” attendees of the parade shouted at the Democratic mayor.
Italian-American actor Chazz Palminteri slammed de Blasio Monday, saying, “I am really p—–.
“How can you appoint 18 people who are going to judge what Columbus means to us. You’re going to pick up 18 people and tell us what our New York values are?” Palminteri said.
He added: “Adolf Hitler loved Henry Ford. Should we take the name off the cars?”
John Fratta, chairman of the New York State Commission for Social Justice, is calling the attempts to topple Columbus statues an assault on the Italian-American community.
“It is a slap in the face to the Italian-American community, and we are not going to tolerate it,” Fratta told the New York Post.
The “intellectual roots of the war against Columbus,” National Review’s Jennifer Braceras contends, are in “Marxism and the Ku Klux Klan” ideology.
“Bashing Christopher Columbus has long been de rigueur among the liberal elite. Today, it has infiltrated our nation’s classrooms and poisons our public discourse,” Braceras writes. “You know the mantra: Columbus was a greedy and egomaniacal villain who brought slavery, disease, ‘genocide,’ and ecological ruin to a previously undisturbed land.”
Friedrich Engels, who with Marx authored the Communist Manifesto, lambasted Columbus as the godfather of modern capitalism. According to Engels, Columbus’ westward journeys unleashed the era of “big commerce,” the world market and the birth of the bourgeoisie.
White supremacists sparked the anti-Columbus movement in the United States nearly 100 years ago, Barceras claimed.
“In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan promoted negative characterizations of Columbus in order to vilify Catholics and immigrants, many of whom celebrated Columbus not only as a source of ethnic and religious pride but also as a symbol of the free and diverse society that resulted from the European presence here,” she wrote. “The Klan tried to prevent the erection of monuments to the Great Navigator, burned crosses in opposition to efforts to honor him, and argued that commemorations of his voyage were part of a papal plot.”
She said: “Rather than honor a Catholic explorer from the Mediterranean, Klansmen proposed honoring the Norseman Leif Eriksson as discoverer of the New World and a symbol of white pride.”
The first-ever monument of Columbus, which was erected in 1792 in Baltimore, was vandalized with a sledgehammer in August. The vandal videotaped himself defacing the 44-foot obelisk sculpture.
“Christopher Columbus symbolizes the initial invasion of European capitalism into the Western Hemisphere,” the vandal said as he attempted to decimate the statue. “Columbus initiated a centuries-old wave of terrorism, murder, genocide, rape, slavery, ecological degradation and capitalist exploitation of labor in the Americas. That Columbian wave of destruction continues on the backs of indigenous African American and brown people. Racist monuments to slave owners and murders have always bothered me.
“Baltimore’s poverty is concentrated in African American households and these statues are just an extra slap in the face. They were built in the 20th century in response to a movement for African Americans’ dignity,” he said. “What kind of culture goes to such lengths to build such hate-filled monuments. Part of our evolution as humans requires tearing down monuments to destructive forces and tearing down systems that maintain them.”
Americans began honoring Columbus 300 years after his journey across the Atlantic to the Americas in 1492.
In October 1792, the first reported Columbus Day celebration was held in New York to mark the 300th year anniversary of his voyage.
A French diplomat create erected the Baltimore obelisk, the first Columbus memorial in Americas.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a federal holiday in 1937.
An email sent to supporters of the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign recommended they celebrate Columbus Day by investing in “Make America Great Again” merchandise.
“The media and the left have been working overtime to undermine our history,” the email reads. “That’s why we wanted to have a HUGE celebration this Columbus Day — to show them we’re not going to let them get away with it.”