by Solomon Comissiong
“The conversion of holidays could go far in ushering militarism and imperialism into the dustbin of American history and culture.”
US society is immersed in contradictions. However, subliminal indoctrination tends to mask even the most glaring of these contradictions, especially those involving race. Americans seem trained not to see that which is right in front of their eyes, or to distinguish truth from the most base propaganda.
Contradiction-laden holidays figure heavily in the national propaganda. Columbus Day, for example, is drenched in white supremacist ideals. Columbus continues to be virtually canonized in some U.S. circles, despite the ample historical record of the “Discoverer's” crimes of mass murder, rape, kidnapping, mutilation, torture and general depravity. Clearly, Columbus Day would not exist in a moral society, yet many Americans think of themselves as situated at or near the moral center of the planet.
As an antidote to and replacement for Columbus, I submit Chief Sitting Bull. The great Lakota leader led thousands of warriors to defeat U.S. General George Custer, another bloodthirsty character that should be banished from the pantheon of American heroes. Sitting Bull Day would celebrate the glorious, albeit temporary, victory of Native Americans over the encroachments of white thuggery.
Racism has enshrined white supremacists as national role models. At a nearly subconscious level, the masses are indoctrinated to look with awe on some of the foulest examples of humanity ever assembled: slaveholders, Indian-killers, Confederates, segregators, land pirates, war criminals and exploiters of all pathologies imaginable.
“Columbus Day would not exist in a moral society.”
The indoctrination is reinforced through naming rituals. The names of villains are splattered everywhere, physically and symbolically. Government buildings, schools, towns, streets and, yes, even holidays are transformed into billboards – even shrines – for what moral societies would recognize as unspeakable evil.
Money may or may not be the root of all evil, but U.S. currency is decorated with the faces of irredeemably evil men, guilty of enslaving other men. George Washington, of $1 fame, owned over 300 African slaves, and the proudly racist Andrew Jackson initiated brutal wars against Seminoles, helped pass the Indian Removal Act of 1830, and appointed Roger Taney to the U.S. Supreme Court, who ruled against Dred Scott and believed Blacks had no rights that a white man was bound to respect. Jackson's record of evil is longer and arguably more damnable than Washington's, which may account in some perverse American way for Jackson's bill being worth twenty times as much as Washington's.
“The masses are indoctrinated to look with awe on some of the foulest examples of humanity ever assembled.”
Even the so-called “Great Emancipator,” Abraham Lincoln, had an incredibly low opinion of blacks. Lincoln once said:
“He (Fredrick Douglas) shall have no occasion to ever ask it again, for I tell him very frankly that I am not in favor of Negro citizenship.... I will say then, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way, the social and political equality of the white and black races -- that I am not, nor have ever been in favor of making voters of the Negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them marry with white people. I will say in addition that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I suppose will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality and inasmuch as they cannot so live, that while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior that I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white man...”
As an Emancipator, Lincoln is clearly overrated, and should be relegated to something more obscure than the popular $5 bill. Had it not been for the “Great Agitator” Frederick Douglass and his fellow abolitionists, Lincoln would not have freed anyone at all. A just and egalitarian society would surely place Frederick Douglass' noble visage on the $5 bill, in celebration of his militancy for freedom.
The ultimate heroes are those that gave their lives for the freedom of others. Historical giants like Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser, Denmark Vesey, and the Africans that participated in the Stono Rebellion should be honored with national holidays.
“A just and egalitarian society would surely place Frederick Douglass' noble visage on the $5 bill.”
The conversion of holidays could go far in ushering militarism and imperialism into the dustbin of American history and culture. Veterans Day, as currently celebrated, would be among the first to go. All too often Veteran’s Day is used as a tool to indoctrinate the masses with war mongering values such as those that led to wars like Vietnam. It should be replaced by Peace Day, when society would honor those who became political dissenters against unjust wars of aggression and imperialism.
As we said at the outset, America is a fundamentally flawed and contradicted country, where the populace is force-fed a diet of symbolic and iconic evil. It may take generations to cleanse such a society of the grime and gore of centuries. Aluta Continua…
Solomon Comissiong is an educator, community activist, author, public speaker and the host of the Your World News radio program (www.blogtalkradio.com/Your-World-News). He may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.