Sunday, March 20, 2011

Italy thinking patriotic thoughts (150th yr anniversary)

Beppe Severgnini, one of Italy's most visible columnists, contemplating the kind of patriotic recharge his country needs on its 150th anniversary (

Sandra Corti writes( "I've been living in the United States for 10 yrs. I have a 7yr old daughter here. Since he started school when he was 4, he has, every morning, together with his classmates, teacher, and the whole school in unison (via loudspeakers), stood up, placed her hand over her heart, with eyes turned to the American flag and proclaimed out loud "The Pledge of Allegiance: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of United Stats of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all". This is how American children begin their day.

Beppe's response:

A sacred duty of fidelity to a nation: The Pledge of Allegiance, it would be good for us to do it as well. I imagine the objections: what use is such a declaration in an empatic, incoherent, and absent-minded Italy? So many of our leaders have made a mockery of the 54th article of the constitution: "Citizens to whom public functions have been granted have the duty to absolve those tasks with discipline and honor, under oath according to the stipulations of the law." Why would such people honor yet another tenet of loyalty? The answer is easy, and I'm happy to give it on the day of Italy's 150th birthday.

We must give ourselves up to the requirement of fedelity of the elected: he who has a conscience must use it; he who doesn't, no phrase or ceremony will deliver it for him. A declaration a' la Americana might help instead a younger electorate upon whom we cast our hopes, and for new Italians, from whom we expect effert, enthusiasm, and loyalty that the USA expects of its new citizens. To choose a new country is to accept new duties, rights, traditions, and lifestyles. In order ot be good Italians, a bit of romantic love for the place is a necessity: there's no other way.

Many wishes. Something I find in my email inbox that I enjoyed: That's right. Italy deserves better. Italy needs to be better led and inspired, not pandered to in all its desires or absolved from all its guilts.

P.S.: Happy Saint's day to all Giuseppe, Beppe, Peppe, Peppino, Pino, Pinuccio, and company!