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Guest MINDSETTER™ Mary Ann Sorrentino: Rick Santorum is No Italian

Monday, January 09, 2012

 

A few days ago I finally heard the question I had feared ever since Rick Santorum became the GOP “flavor of the week.” His flavor was going to be “marinara” after my Uncle Arthur in Portsmouth, NH asked “Isn’t he Italian?”

I answered, “No, he isn’t. His grandfather was Italian.”

Santorum is an American.

I have dual Italian and American citizenship, have lived in Italy, speak Italian fluently and am an alumna of the Universita’ di Firenze. Trust me: Rick Santorum is not “Italian.”

Though the Senator’s outdated views on women’s equality, gay rights and vast governmental control of our most personal freedoms might have given Mussolini a run for his money, no one in Italy would ever mistake this guy for one of their own. His provincial machismo barely hidden beneath a façade of evangelical male dominance would be an embarrassment.

Santorum has 7 times more children than the average Italian in Italy, and is about 5 times more Catholic than Romans living in the shadow of St. Peter’s while boldly ignoring its teachings. Italy has a liberal abortion law despite several attempts to recall it while Santorum decries not only abortion but the contraceptives that would make abortions unnecessary. Italy has negative population growth with birth control a way of life, despite an image of Our Lady staring down at the marriage bed from her perch on the wall.

But a lot of our uncles, fathers and brothers won’t notice any of these stark differences. They’re drunk on the heady brew of the coal mining immigrant grandfather from Italy story (likely actually “Santoro” but re-named “Santorum”on Ellis Island.) To Italo-Americans across the country hungry for their first “Italian” president, only ethnicity matters. They will follow Rudy Giuliani, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito anywhere. Despite his leftist politics, even Mario Cuomo can lead these men off a cliff by the very sound of the vowel at the end of his name. They love FDR because Delano sounds like a landscaper from the North End of Boston.

But, NO, Uncle Artie, Rick Santorum is not “Italian” in the sense that we Italians celebrate who we are. He wants to give corporations a zero tax rate while you pay more to Uncle Sam and lose Medicare. Santorum wants the Pope in every bedroom. He thinks cousin Tillie who had an illegal abortion in 1943 was an irresponsible slut: he doesn’t care that she was raped.

And Rick Santorum doesn’t much care for your grandson Tony-- the one with the scholarship to Harvard who announced last Thanksgiving that he and his roommate Frank are going to get married.

Rick Santorum is what grandma used to call in her southern dialect, “n’american’ ” which was what she called everyone who wasn’t Italian.

So please, Uncle Artie, don’t vote for Rick Santorum out of some distorted sense of ethnic pride. As grandpa used to say, “He’s really not like us.”

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