Yes, you know where this is going–from today’s floor debate on House Bill 19-1185, a bill to replace the controversial Columbus Day holiday with a generic “Colorado Day” honoring the state’s history and accomplishments. And as with any culture-warry hot button issue before the Colorado House, the most infamous House Republican since Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt went into retirement, Rep. Lori Saine, had a thing or two too much to say:
It’s not just about Italian Americans. I think a lot of times the sentiment is anti-Western Civilization. And I just want it to be known that while Columbus wasn’t a perfect man, he certainly didn’t do all the things that his detractors claim that he did. In fact, he was blamed for many crimes that were committed by men who disobeyed his commands. They did things he expressly condemned.
But we don’t apparently bring that up in public schools if that’s what one of the representatives have said. We need to take this opportunity if we think this holiday creates division, maybe we should teach the real history of Columbus with real history books.
Rep. Saine’s choice of words in reference to “real history” and “real history books” is particularly amusing after Saine became a nationwide laughingstock for claiming that blacks and whites were lynched “in nearly equal numbers” for “the crime of being Republican,” assertions that came as a big surprise to anybody who knows the history of either lynching or Republicans. Despite numerous attempts by friendly fellow Republicans to guide Rep. Saine back toward the remotest degree of historical accuracy, she steadfastly refused to do so, doubling down over the course of multiple subsequent interviews.
As for Christopher Columbus, well…safe to say opinions vary! Whatever version of Columbus’ biography you subscribe to, we should all be able to agree that the subjugation of the New World by Western civilization is both much a larger subject than Columbus personally, who died not actually knowing what he had “discovered”–and without a doubt, very difficult to justify commemorating by today’s moral standards. Columbus has become a metaphor for a genocidal event in history that he personally could not have understood and went on long after the man himself was dead.
Either way, we know who we won’t be asking for a history lesson. And that’s Rep. Lori Saine.