An Italian American Says Basta! To Hispanic Heritage Month


Italian Americans are thick-skinned.

Call us dagos, guineas, wops…that`s
just sticks and stones.

When we`re portrayed in the movies
and on television as

goombas
, I`m not offended. I like a good

mobster picture
as much as anyone. And no matter what
stereotype

Hollywood uses,
the Italians I know are more like

Antonin Scalia
than

Tony Soprano.

But I confess that I got rankled
when, at the

2003 National Italian American Foundation Gala,

President George Bush delivered a

few fleeting word
s without mentioning—save for a
token reference to Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci—any of
hundreds of significant contributions made by
Italian-Americans.

Still, I forgot about Bush`s
slights—until this year when National Hispanic Heritage
Month rolled around. It`s a 31-day period beginning
September 15th and ending October 15th.

By an odd coincidence, National
Hispanic Heritage Month conflicts with Italian American
Heritage Month, celebrated from October 1st to
October 31st.

Which is bad enough. But as an
Italian American reared by parents and grandparents who
loved the United States, I`m miffed that any month at
all
is dedicated to people whose allegiance to our
country is questionable—at least in some cases.

I certainly don`t understand why
Americans should be celebrating the history of
countries whose presence in the U.S. stems largely from
illegal immigration.

Call me crazy but I don`t see why anyone save
historians gives a rip about something called
“Hispanic Independence Day.”
Celebrated on September
15th, Hispanic Independence Day marks the
liberation

nearly two centuries
ago of Costa Rica, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

But the crown jewel of Hispanic
Heritage Month is

Mexican Independence Day, September 16.

No doubt this is a

perfectly fine and appropriate holiday
if you live in
Mexico. .

But we don`t (yet). So why bother?

Throughout the U.S., colleges are

pushing Hispanic Heritage Month
.

I`m

pro-awareness,
of course. But, to ask a foolish
question, wouldn`t it be more worthwhile—in light of
university students appalling ignorance about US history—
to spend the time on

American Awareness?
.

Ethnic celebrations feed on
themselves and soon grow into monsters. Look at
Cinco de Mayo
, all but an

official holiday
in

southern California.

With the big push currently behind
Mexican Independence Day, some

Los Angeles
schools were

closed for the day.

Here in Lodi, in California`s San
Joaquin Valley, the Lawrence Elementary School—where last
year illegal alien parents

sued
the school district—the Second Annual Mexican
Independence Day Celebration took place.

This is a national scandal. What
goes on in the schools is not a joint venture with
Mexico. U.S. taxpayers fund our schools. Mexican holidays
have no place on US school campuses.

I cannot imagine that Italians
would ever attempt such a bold power grab.

Of course, as I have previously
noted in VDARE.COM articles, when it comes to Mexico and
its celebrations, nothing is ever enough. Telco Garcia,
assistant managing editor of the Arizona Republic,
recently admitted as much in his column tellingly
entitled 1
Month Not Enough for Our Hispanic Pride.”
[email
him]

Out of curiosity, I looked up what
Bush had to say last year when he waxed poetic about
National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Not surprisingly (since Hispanics
now outnumber Italians in the U.S. by more than 12
million), Bush laid it on thick, trawling for

votes as usual.

Among the Hispanics Bush “applauded
for their major contributions to America were Joseph
Marion Hernandez, first Hispanic in Congress, 1822, Cuban
Roberto

Goizueta
former. Chairman and C.E.O. of

the Coca-Cola Company
, Puerto Rican

Roberto Clemente
, Hall of Fame outfielder for the
Pittsburgh Pirates and

Cuban Celia Cruz,
salsa music queen.

I admire all the people Bush
named. But, frankly, we Italians can field a better team.

Here, using the exact same
professions that Bush chose, is the Italian line-up.

No one can argue but that this
dwarfs the Hispanic contingent.

After you look at those names, you
have to wonder how, at that speech to National Italian
American Foundation Gala, Bush could only offer up
Columbus and Vespucci.

I believe the answer is simple:
Bush

doesn`t know anything
about Italians!

Yet, while yesteryear`s Italians
have been enormous contributors to America`s success,
Bush also owes a debt of gratitude to today`s Italians
who are fighting his ugly war in Iraq.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi, citing the long-time friendship between Italy
and the U.S., sent

Italian troops to Iraq.
Nineteen have died.

Bush`s

best amigo Vicente Fox
has sent—none.

Bush owes it to Italians to learn
our complete story.

Once he knows it, maybe he`ll
realize who his real friends are.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English at the Lodi
Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column
since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.