Online blogger Eric Zorn: On Columbus statues, Lightfoot picks a wound that had scabbed over

The city has - or had - moved on from the controversy over public honors to controversial Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot removed and mothballed Columbus statues in Grant Park, Arrigo Park and a Southeast Side traffic island "until further notice" in mid-2020 after a violent clash in Grant Park between protesters and police over the public celebration of a brave, resourceful adventurer who played a huge role in linking Europe to North America yet was also a brutal, racist tyrant.

Italian Americans were wroth, but the fuss died down among all but a few Columbus die-hards who for some reason consider him - above all the other worthy men and women who share their heritage - to be the best expression of their ethnic pride.

Then in a surprise and somewhat offhand announcement at an unrelated news conference Monday, Lightfoot said she "fully expects" a reinstallation of at least the Grant Park statue.

So Lightfoot wants to restore the Grant Park statute? Even though, as she acknowledged, it will require police resources to guard it and prevent a recurrence of the violent protests that prompted its removal? She's not juggling enough issues, enough problems, enough controversies, that she wants to add this chain saw to the array?

• For his thoughts on Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's change of heart on statues of Christopher Columbus, check the full article on Eric's newsletter The Picayune Sentinel at

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