While some of us have today off of work to reflect on the accomplishments of America's namesake, the Italian cartographer and explorer Amerigo Vespucci, the rest are happy to work in celebration of a man who helped disprove the assertions of a certain murderous pirate.
Vespucci, of course, documented the continents of the New World, and confirmed what many suspected: Christopher Columbus hadn't reached Asia. There are disputes concerning the genesis of some of his works, but such is History.
When German cartographer Martin Waldeseemüller was making his map of the New World in 1507, he used Vespucci's name, preventing us from having to celebrate the accidental discoveries and repeat the brazen lies of an explorer who eschewed logic and reason and systematically tortured, mutilated, and enslaved indigenous populations. Let us be thankful that his legacy isn't enshrined in myths and lies that are deeply ingrained in the supple minds of children, year in and year out.
If we have to have to distill the complicated web of history into a glib celebration of America, it's a good thing we chose a less barbarous human. Glad that's settled.
But it is really strange that the federal government would create a holiday for a Val Kilmer movie.