“Real History” With Rep. Lori Saine

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.

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    She's the Louie Gohmert of the Colorado House of Representatives.

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    Ok, she’s completely insane . . . 

    . . . and probably the poster child for why home-schooling, short of medical necessity, should be outlawed?

    But the bill, making the 1st Monday of August a state holiday, in place the second monday in October (which will still be a federal holiday), is kinda’ loopy too . . . 

    . . . just change to name on the second Monday in October to “Colorado Day” for State of Colorado Holiday purposes, and avoid the confusion and complications of state offices and state banks (but not national banks), etc.,  closures — if you’re gonna’ change anything at all??

  3. mamajama55 says:

    The modern, Common Core way of teaching history* is to 1) use primary sources, 2) foster discussion and writing from diverse points of view and 3) try to synthesize a narrative of "what happened and why it matters and what do we do with it" from all of these sources. It's not just memorizing timelines and dates anymore, although that is also a part of it.

    So Saine's white supremacist "western civilization" point of view would be one that is presented and argued for – it is just not the only valid point of view presented and argued for anymore. That's the part Saine and her ilk can't stand. The victors no longer get to write history so that they show up in the best possible light.The conquerors don’t get to silence the conquered.

    *You can skip to page 16 to see what "prepared graduates" should know and be able to do in the history/ civics/ economics arenas.

    • papapajama says:

      Well said. "Her ilk" might be too strong. Valid point of view? That's another discussion:-)


      • mamajama55 says:

        A typical secondary history plan might be to study the bare bones of what when who how – traditional date and location facts.  For the Why? Then read slave narratives, auction bills, letters written by Southern plantation slave owners, ship's manifests, indentured servant diaries, religious sermons pro and anti-abolition. Those might be the primary sources.

        Then students would be assigned to groups to advocate for that group's self interests and point of view around an issue, perhaps the Fugitive Slave Law.

        After lots of debate and discussion, students switch groups, have to stand in someone else's shoes and advocate for their interests. So yes, the "Southern pride” / heritage folks get their say – it's just not the only say.

        I've seen this work, facilitated by masterful teachers. The kids have fun and learn history well, one outcome being the ability to step out of their comfort zones and thought bubbles.

  4. RepealAndReplace says:

    And since your brought up his name….

    I was in the Springs on Monday and noticed numerous yard signs bearing Dr. Chaps' name. But they didn't say for what office he was running. City council? Mayor? Minister for the propagation of virtue and the suppression of vice?  

  5. Gray in Mountains says:

    I would favor celebrating Indigenous People's Day on that Monday in October and dump any celebration of Columbus.

    Colorado needs to market Colorado Day, 8/1. Several state agencies make efforts with local celebration

    • Duke Cox says:

      I know my long deceased native forebears would appreciate a change in focus on that day.

      It isn't about any single person. It is about genocide. It is about cruelty and loss. But it is also about perseverance…about courage and determination. Whenever native peoples are given a fighting chance, they make their way as well as anyone.

      But let us never pretend that this nation has not a long way to go before it can ever have "made it up to" the tribes of North America. I am always sickened when I see some red-necked white boy screaming about "his" country.

      Ignorance is the camouflage of the hateful.

  6. Pseudonymous says:

    I expect there are people stupider than Lori Saine, but I have yet to find evidence to support my theory.

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