What leftists don’t understand about Ron DeSantis is what they don’t understand about America.
The Republican Florida governor, potential presidential candidate and biggest liberal lightning rod in the country whose name isn’t “Trump” published a proclamation on Monday saluting Columbus Day with praise for the navigator whose voyages changed human history.
And in the process, he scored a direct hit on the progressive left that dominates the country’s current president.
Christopher Columbus displayed courage, determination, and perseverance when he sailed the ocean blue more than 500 years ago.
Happy Columbus Day! pic.twitter.com/6N0MlOkrvZ
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 11, 2021
For a politician with an Italian-American heritage, DeSantis’ statement was almost obligatory, of course. But for a conservative in the United States of the 21st century plagued by a political movement that aims to attack just about every vestige of the imperfect past, it was an act of defiance.
At a time when self-loathing liberals are condemning their own nation because the Founding Fathers of more than two centuries ago didn’t live up to the pieties of the present, DeSantis’ words came like a breath of fresh air.
Without Columbus, DeSantis wrote, “the country we hold dear and the lives we enjoy would not exist.”
That’s a simple fact. Columbus’ 1492 voyage was the hinge the history of the world has turned on ever since. And his landfall in what is now the Bahamas is what made possible the settlements of North America that eventually gave rise to the British colonies, the American Revolution and the face of the globe as it is today.
For the modern left, the fact that Columbus had all the imperfections of his time (a tolerance of slavery, for instance, that was shared across Africa and the Arab world) is somehow a disqualification from admiration today.
DeSantis’ statement showed better, saluting “a singular figure in Western Civilization who exemplified courage, risk-taking and heroism in the face of enormous odds.”
But DeSantis went further than simply acknowledging Columbus’ accomplishments. He turned the statement into an attack on the “woke” world of the left, declaring that “individuals who seek to defame Columbus and try to expunge the day from our civic calendar do so as part of a mission to portray the United States and Western history in a negative light as they seek to blame our country and its values for all that is evil in the world, rather than see it as the force for good.”
It doesn’t require star-spangled patriotism to understand that the United States is and has been a force for freedom in the world. And it’s entirely possible for mature minds to acknowledge the flaws of the past while being grateful for the country the Founding Fathers built and proud of its leading place in the world.
To do the opposite — to dwell on the manifold sins of the past that have become a lucrative livelihood for grifters peddling critical race theory garbage while refusing to adopt a clear-eyed comprehension of just how great the United States actually is — is the kind of moral and intellectual failure American progressives have perfected.
Naturally, DeSantis’ proclamation was greeted with predictable bilge — sophomoric barbs blaming him for the calamitous consequences of the European conquest of the Western Hemisphere for the native inhabitants.
It’s truly amazing how many individuals there are who think a high schooler’s knowledge of history combined with a high schooler’s conceit (“Columbus thought he was in Asia!”) constitute brilliant political insight rather than puerile protest. But then, it’s amazing that Joe Biden is the president, too. (There might be a connection between those two.)
Here are some fair examples of the kind of intellectual heft we’re dealing with:
He raped indigenous people — what is wrong with you? https://t.co/DK7j9wvafW
— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani 🔨 (@AnnaForFlorida) October 11, 2021
Ron, do you know that there were entire Indian civilizations in America before Columbus stole the continent?
— Jossaphine Baker (@JossaphineB) October 12, 2021
If Ron was there in 1492, he would have been telling everyone the world was flat and don’t believe this science BS.
— Christopher Eagle (@eagle4congress) October 11, 2021
But even in the leftist cesspool of social media, there were users who understood DeSantis’ point.
This means more to me at least than all else done in government today! Thank you for continuing the good fight spreading freedom and truth! We are a lucky State at the moment for having you and I believe more will realize it with time!
— Brandon767345269420 (@Brandon25144935) October 11, 2021
Can’t hold the past to our standards. History shows how the human condition has evolved and became more civilized. If Columbus had not “discovered” America, the United States would not exist. We be judged in the future. I pray in the context of our world not theirs.
— AngelStorm (@AngelStorm) October 11, 2021
The reality is that, for modern leftists, morality is mainly a matter of expedience, and expedience means condemning the Western culture. Columbus will be attacked ad nauseam for the slave trade that followed his voyages, but nothing will be said about the slave trade fostered by Africans and Arabs for centuries.
Columbus will be blamed for the admittedly brutal subjugation of the native tribes of North and South America that followed his expeditions, but never is he or the European heritage credited with the principles of the Declaration of Independence that also followed his discovery — or the United States of America, the single greatest force for freedom in the world since the spread of Christianity.
Adult Americans understand that Columbus wasn’t perfect. They understand their country isn’t perfect and never has been. Because sane adults understand that perfection doesn’t exist in a world of human beings.
But they also understand the greatness of the country, too.
Ronald Reagan conducted the most consequential presidency in post-war history because Americans knew he understood that. George W. Bush spent eight years in the White House for the same reason.
Donald Trump upended the political establishment to win the presidency in 2016 (and should have done the same in 2020) because he trumpeted that message from sea to shining sea.
Leftists didn’t get it then, and they don’t get it now. They won’t get it in 2024 no matter who is running for president against the corrupt ineptitude of the Biden-Harris White House.
And they certainly don’t get Ron DeSantis.
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