WASHINGTON (CAP) - If a bill now making its way through Congress is successful, this year's Columbus Day holiday might be the last one celebrated in this country. A number of congressmen and senators are strongly backing a bill that would replace the holiday with an "Indigenous Peoples Genocide Festival" starting next year.
"It's well known that Columbus didn't discover America at all, but rather set in motion the chain of events that led to the slaughter and destruction of people who lived here for centuries," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who sponsored the bill. "I mean, what a jerk."
Originally envisioned as "Indigenous Peoples Genocide Day," the concept was expanded into a week-long festival to better embrace the rich history of indigenous peoples genocide. "Let's face it, we could spend two days just on smallpox," noted Boxer.
Not surprisingly, the bill has met with extreme opposition from Italian-American groups who see the holiday as an expression of their heritage.
"While we understand the concerns some have about this holiday, we argue that its value as a celebration of the Italian-American legacy, and the significant contributions of Italians to our country and our society, outweigh those concerns," said Dominic Parziale of the Coalition for Italian-American Interests in a prepared statement.
"Therefore, we ask that those behind this movement reconsider their position," added Parziale, "so we won't be forced to string them up and cut their balls off."
Italian-American politician Rudy Giuliani also expressed his dismay at the bill. "Columbus Day is extremely important to many, many Italian-Americans," said Giuliani. "Some of my fondest memories are of standing on 5th Avenue watching the Columbus Day parade with one or another of my wives, wondering where the hell my kids were and why they hated me so much."
Not all Italian-Americans agreed, though. Sal Fontana of Secaucus, N.J., pointed to the much-discussed Columbus Day episode of The Sopranos (No. 42), noting, "That episode sucked!"
Regardless, the concerns might be for naught, since President Obama has vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk. "I am, uhh, sympathetic to the concerns about the indiginous peoples," said the president. "But I am equally sympathetic to the needs and concerns of the Italian people. And when push comes to shove, if Columbus hadn't discovered America, me and my people never would have been able to come here from Africa.
"Umm, I mean Hawaii," Obama added. "We never would have been able to come here from Hawaii. Which is a state. The, uhh, state I was born in. Which makes me a citizen of your country."
Meanwhile, representatives for the National Center For American Indian Enterprise Development were unavailable to comment on the bill, as they were all busy preparing proposals for new casinos.
- CAP News Staff