To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Viking Day

Today is Columbus Day, marking the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World. Generally it is commemorated with parades, sales, and, for government employees at least, the day off.

But there is also a dark underside to Columbus Day. For some it is an anniversary of evil, a day of genocide, imperialism, and slavery. Others feel the holiday is historically inaccurate and has led to obfuscation of both the man and his time.

Therefore I propose replacing the politically charged Columbus Day with an apolitical holiday all Americans can support: Viking Day.

This time of year sorely lacks an alcohol-focused holiday such as St. Patrick's Day (seven months behind us), and so Viking Day fills this role by celebrating the hardy Norse adventurers who established L'Anse aux Meadows some thousand years ago. Using St. Pat's as the model, we simply replace the "wearing o' the green" with the "wearing o' the horns" and in a single gulp of frosty ale we can sweep aside the racial and cultural issues that divide us.

The benefits to Viking Day are numerous. The holiday will infuse needed capital into the sagging mead industry. More drinking establishments will include Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" on their jukeboxes. And American Indians will now be known by their more culturally sensitive Viking name as Skraelings. Viking Day is a step toward healing.

So when you're at the bar tonight, hold high your drinking horn and remember: Everyone is a Viking on Viking Day!

Update: Reader Palmer brings to my attention Leif Erikson Day, which is observed every October 9 and therefore falls this year on… Columbus Day! Huzzah! I want to thank everyone who helped make Viking Day a reality -- I couldn't have done it without you. I especially want to thank LBJ for proclaiming the first Leif Erikson Day; I know he was a very busy man with a lot on his mind. Now sally forth and drink!