The lead story in i-Italy on Friday, August 21, 2009, was a commentary by Tom Verso lamenting the lack of courses in American schools about Italian history and culture especially in communities with significant Italian American population his example Rochester, New York. Right on Mr. Verso. Then Mr. Verso goes astray when he uses as his foil my interview and views on the Advance Placement exam in Italian.
Pizza and pasta Mr. Verso.
Or worse I see deeply hidden in Mr. Verso’s comments the bane of the Italian American community our often argumentative non-supportive attitudes among Italian Americans organizationally and individually. But by far worst of all let me dig all the way to the pulsating center of our problem. I see the self-inflicted naïveté (not to be taken personally Mr. Verso) that is the very worst characterization that defines Italian Americans. Oblivious to strategy.
Niccolo Machiavelli where are you when we need you. Please let us channel you.
Why are Italian Americans often tone deaf to the realities of strategy ? Any “war” is composed of a series of encounters, maneuvers, actions all of which are best realized if your side has a strategy that those activities fit within that exploits the “enemies” weaknesses. Well in this war Mr. Verso no where is the “enemy” or if you prefer adversary so exposed as by the actions of The College Board, its position on Italian AP, and the pliant call it lemming like response of the American educational system in accepting their position.
Thank God you are not the General in this war Mr. Verso we would be doomed to defeat.
You would be facing the potential of an overwhelming victory that would change the course of this entire cultural war and what would you do order the troops to turn around and go far away from the action. It reminds me of President Lincoln’s frustration with the commander of the Union troops General McClellan and his refusal to take his overwhelming superior firepower and engage the Confederacy because he wanted to wait for some nebulous better option. While McClellan fiddled thousands upon thousands of young Americans were slaughtered for nothing. The Union was finally on its path to victory when Lincoln fired McClellan. Don’t worry you are in no danger. Except rhetorically.
The fact is The College Board is so vulnerable on the issue of the Italian Advance Placement if we do not engage them, if we appease them, if we run away from this battle SHAME ON US for all eternity. Mr. Verso you want more courses in schools available about Italian history and culture. You want the Italian American experience far better weaved into the American educational curriculum.
Well then let us WIN the battle facing us today that we can and must win ( or experience a crushing defeat if we do not ) to prove Italian Americans are not a bunch of dis-organized wimps when confronted with abusive discriminatory actions here the 21st century.
Let us rally around the VICTORY that can be ours in the battle for Italian Advanced Placement right now and let the momentum carry us forward to battle far more devious and entrenched adversaries in Rochester and across the nation.
You can lead that charge!