Sins of the Forefathers

I was never really invested in Columbus Day, so I’m not terribly bothered that the holiday is being swapped out for Indigenous People’s Day or Voting Day. But, the historical revisionism grates a bit. Not that it’s untrue. He murdered, and raped, and tortured and enslaved people.
I have always thought that Thomas Jefferson was one of America’s greatest presidents. Still do. But, it is a known fact now that he had several children with a slave, and he left them in slavery.
So, our deification of these personalities was misguided, our reverence for them somewhat naive. Nonetheless, they are part of who we are.
Here’s a broader view. By 65,000 years ago, human beings had invented (or learned to use) language, agriculture, houses, clothing, boats, and fire. We were probably recognizably human for a couple hundred thousand years before that. And there is little doubt that violence, murder, rape, slavery, kidnapping and torture go back at least that far.
So, we are all descended from rapists, and murderers, and tyrants. All we can control is what we do going forward.

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