On Sunday night, an amazing thing happened. The statue of Christopher Columbus in Philadelphia, which had been imprisoned in a plywood box for two and a half years, was finally liberated. Starting at approximately 8:00 p.m., work crews took apart the box and returned the statue to public view! A crowd of people gathered and cheered as his face, and eventually of him, was revealed.
Video of the unboxing can be seen here.
Mayor Jim Kenney had attempted to remove the statue, but local Italian Americans sued to stop this from happening. And miraculously, they won. Kenney appealed the court’s decision, but the original ruling was upheld, and the judge ordered Columbus to be freed from the box in which he had been imprisoned while the lawsuit was pending.
Seeing something good happen to Christopher Columbus for once is truly beautiful.
The only negative aspect of this situation was the statement issued by Kenney in response to the ruling:
“We are very disappointed in the Court’s ruling. We continue to believe that the Christopher Columbus statue, which has been a source of controversy in Philadelphia, should be removed from its current position at Marconi Plaza… While we will respect this decision, we will also continue to explore our options for a way forward that allows Philadelphians to celebrate their heritage and culture while respecting the histories and circumstances of everyone’s different backgrounds.”
The fact that someone could be disappointed with a ruling sparing a magnificent historical figure from death is incomprehensible. I literally don’t understand how someone could be disappointed with a Columbus statue not being removed. It simply makes no sense. I don’t get how anyone could feel that way.
There is never any legitimate reason to remove a statue, nor is there any possible benefit in removing a statue.
The reason cited by Kenney – the fact that the statue has been a source of controversy – is not a legitimate reason for the statue to be removed. If people want a statue to be removed, then those people are wrong, and their feelings and opinions regarding the statue should carry no weight, because the feelings and opinions are wrong.
Kenney is wrong to believe that the statue of Columbus should be removed. No statue should be removed. Ever.
Contrary to what Kenney seems to be implying, having a Christopher Columbus statue in public view is a way – actually the only way – for Philadelphians to celebrate their heritage and culture while respecting the histories and circumstances of everyone’s different backgrounds. Removing Columbus statues makes it impossible for people to celebrate their heritage and culture, because Columbus is an integral part of some people’s heritage and culture. Additionally, removing Columbus statues actively disrespects the histories and circumstances of everyone’s different backgrounds, because it inflicts enormous pain on people who like Columbus and completely disregards our perspectives and our reasons for admiring him. So, any “way forward” that involves removing a Columbus statue would actually do the opposite of what Kenney claims it does.
The unboxing of the Columbus statue is a wonderful and awesome development. It is excellent that Jim Kenney – and in a more general sense, the cruel and intolerant way of thinking that he represents – was dealt a defeat. Now he just needs to stop issuing hurtful and illogical statements.