Monuments to Christopher Columbus are ubiquitous in America, or as they say "as American as pizza pie." This one is mostly unnoticed near an entrance to State Road 8 in Torrington CT, so efforts to tear it down are unlikely.
Given the recurrent debate over monuments of dubious distinction I thought to remind people that, as I wrote in 1992: Five hundred years ago an Italian discovered America. Five hundred years later Americans have yet to discover Italians.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution (1979) simply states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The day after the Presidential election I was in England to deliver the keynote address at the University of Central Lancashire’s “Fieldwork Photography Symposium.” I had already voted for Hillary Clinton on the Working Families Party line by absentee ballot from Brooklyn. My opening remarks were “Yesterday there was a battle in the U.S.A. between the Anti-Christ and the Whore of Babylon, and the Anti-Christ won.” Given that many in the audience had mistakenly voted for Brexit and were now suffering the consequences of populism, I knew they’d understand the metaphor.
Who will New York City’s Italian-American voters favor in the upcoming presidential election in November? Based on statistical analyses and past voting performance, it will be the Republican Party candidate Donald Trump. However, because of the growing number of more liberal Italian- American New Yorkers, especially among the young and women, the margin might not be as HUGE as expected.
Why are so many Americans of Italian descent leaning rightward toward the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the most powerful position in the world --- the Presidency of the United States of America? It's one of the many things about Italian Americans that makes little sense to most people, including other full and half-Italian Americans. What follows are some pretty solid speculations, and a reminder of the left-leaning history of Italian American political history.
Today’s Italian American voters are as likely to vote for Bernie Sanders as they were to vote for their semi-co-ethnic Bill De Blasio; or for Barack Obama whose name also ended in a vowel. Here I will try to explain Bernie's place in Presidential preference polls among more or less likely Italian American voters. You might think that among Italian American voters, Bernie’s major opponent is Hillary Clinton, but it’s really “The Donald” Trump.
Italian American politicians adhere to a corollary given by the 6th century BCE Chinese general Sun Tzu who wrote the Art of War. It was uttered by Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II (1974): "My father taught me many things here — he taught me in this room. He taught me — keep your friends close but your enemies closer." My mother-in-law Rose Jordan-Nicoletti’s version of this Italian American proverb was “Don’t apologize! Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it.”
Every year around 9/11 I go out in my neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn and retrace my steps (and re-photograph) as I walked about in 2001 looking at how ordinary people visibly responded to the murder of almost three thousand people in and around the World Trade Center when the Twin Towers fell. This is the second of my "Memories of September 11th Past, Present, and ....." that I have offered here on I-Italy and I will repeat this on every 9/11 anniversary.