The obsession for gold drove Columbus and other adventure seekers and even those Europeans who came over to the new land, to create an era of horrible evil rarely discussed even in history books. It was a time of war, forced labor, exceedingly harsh and severe punishments, and devastating diseases unknown to the Indian population of this new land.
What’s really sad is there are so many similarities to our world today! Think of it! Aren’t many in our world driven by money? We seem to go to great lengths to get not only our share “of the pie” but the largest piece of “the pie!” And those who are beneath us are enslaved in menial jobs with wages leaving them at or below the poverty line.
The obsession to have more and more, in a word, “greed” seems to dominate our country. I’m saddened by the state of affairs. Recently there was another news article about insider trading in the stock market and embezzlement articles are in abundance. It is what drives our society.
Some years ago a friend attended a church that voted to get bells installed in their sanctuary bell tower. This isn’t a bad thing in itself. It’s wonderful, really. But the pitch to get them wasn’t just that they’d be a great addition to their worship place, but they needed to get them "now" because the church down the street was also considering getting some and they certainly couldn’t let the other church be first! This is no different than Queen Isabella and Ferdinand wanting to lead in exploration!
We have wars around us and I know in some countries forced labor prevails and horrible punishment for those not meeting expectations. There is human trafficking, perhaps a little different than what happened so many years ago when this land was first being conquered, but perhaps even a bit more vile! It seems every week or so, we learn of another kind of disease strain that’s mutated from another. Our antibiotics become less and less useful, and chemicals used so radically on everything we eat, continues to make our health deteriorate. We've become like the Native Americans when the first Europeans came to this country; vulnerable to all kinds of bacteria and disease for which there is no cure.
I remember as a child celebrating Columbus Day with great fan fare. I’m not opposed to that even now, even though history shows he might be getting more credit than he deserved, but it’s more than that. It’s about the mindset that brought him here. It shows that even then people were self-serving and greedy! Time hasn’t changed much, has it?
As you reflect on your own life, if someone had the opportunity to write about your endeavors, accomplishments, your life, what would be remembered? Would it need to be re-written as our history text-books have been in an effort to bury the ugly parts? Are there events the world would be better off not knowing? Or, does your life reflect a moral, ethical, kind, honest, and generous person? It’s worth thinking about. Your children will have children and your history will continue. How did your get your “piece of the pie?” What will your great-great grand children learn of you as they dig through their ancestry?
Davis, Kenneth C. 1995, New York, NY, Everything You Need to Know About American History But Never Learned, (Davis, 1995)