Remember the American Apocalypse on Columbus Day

Garfield Minus Garfield is a literary gem. With Garfield’s character removed from Garfield comic strips, Jon is revealed – depressed, absurd, and pitiful. I challenge you to try the same trick with the early history of Europeans’ arrival to America. Avoiding focus on European experiences, you’ll clearly see the apocalypse that consumed our continent.

In short, aliens invaded America, starting where Haiti is today. They enslaved the local humans while alien diseases spread across the land, killing 80-95% of the population over time. Soon, the first aliens started bringing in other aliens they had already subjugated on a third continent to start farms. For a long time, civilization decayed in freedom, hearing rumors of the aliens and dying under wave after wave of their plagues. Eventually, the aliens and their slaves arrived, subjugating or killing the remnant of people who survived. Only shadows of those societies remain today, most notably in descendants of the Aztec and Incan empires.

From African slaves’ perspective, they arrived to the smoking ruins of America on prison transport ships – traded from one captor to the next. Life was nasty, brutish, and short. For the first couple hundred years, many more aliens came to America as slaves than free, but slaves were killed quickly by the work and left few offspring.

Over time, the situation evolved. Children were born with no memory of life before the apocalypse. Europeans settled colder, remote parts of the continent like New York where their farms could not sustain or contain African slaves. European technology improved, and they built bigger cities with little use for slaves. Eventually, the surviving African slaves fought for freedom in some places and were released in other places. Now, the Europeans wanted nothing to do with the Africans. Where African descendants and surviving indigenous people were the majority, Europeans practiced containment, interacting and disrupting their societies only when it served the Europeans. Where African descendants were a minority, they lived as strangers in their own land, excluded and oppressed by those with power.

Much has gone right in America since the apocalypse. The United States is an exceptional country. But Columbus’ arrival to the American continent kicked off an undeniable apocalypse. We still bear scars from the hellish beginning of modern America. Columbus Day is a remembrance, not a celebration.

Joe Arroyo — La rebelión
Joe Arroyo — La Rebelión


You are not your ancestors. For Christians, Jesus speaks to this issue in Luke 11:47-51. If our ancestors “killed the prophets,” our “generation will be held responsible for it all” only if we follow in their footsteps. Seeing this sinful world clearly – especially our ancestors’ role in it – is paramount to avoid the coming wrath. Build your identity on Christ the solid rock.

The modern self-image of many cultures requires dissociation from elements of ancestral cultures. Today’s Germans condemn the Nazis. My wife, a Christian from Namibia whose recent ancestors were converted by missionaries, values her culture but avoids the parts linked to folk religion. Rome lied to itself that it descended from Greeks; White Americans lie to ourselves that we’re descended from Rome. In fact, I’m more likely descended from the “barbarians” who overthrew it – or a remote Irish tribe that wasn’t even involved.

If you feel a sense of loss about switching America’s origin story from positive to negative, remember that “it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven”. Humility is healthy. Also, a lot of other stuff happened besides oppression. We can honor the good parts of our history without being trapped into defending the bad.

Written on May 24, 2022