Newton Leroy Gingrich, seen at the American Enterprise Institute. Reuters file photo.
My maternal Grandparents came to this country from Sicily before the First World War, I never knew my Grandfather as he died in 1946 when I was two years old on the very day that my brother was born. I did however know well, my round, sweet, wonderful smelling, ugly shoes, Sicilian Grandmother whose words I didn’t always understand but whose meaning was always unmistakable, a large lovely sometimes frightening woman who fed me incredibly well and often, and taught me to behave with her air of peasant efficiency, lessons she delivered in a warm and colorful language, with a sharp and colorful tongue and a gentle hand.
Grandma DeCarlo spoke a thickly accented English flavored with untranslatable phrases of peasant Sicily but she understood, and made herself understood in English well enough to become a citizen, a member of the American work force, a property owner, the matriarch of a proud clan and the mother of a son who landed at Anzio Beach in a return to Italy that was no pleasure cruise, and something that Newton Leroy Gingrich has approximately zero understanding of.
She was a far better person, and I believe, a better American than Newton Leroy Gingrich will ever dream of being.
Naturally she was much more comfortable with the Sicilian language of parent’s home and family. She owned, and lived in a four story apartment building on South Whitney Street in Hartford, Connecticut, a building in which all the apartments were occupied by family or close friends, a mini ghetto I suppose. Sicilian was the language at home as well as in a great part of the neighborhood among people of her generation, except that is, for those of her generation who had fled from Germany, Poland or any number of other countries around the world as Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo prepared for their various marches of empire across Europe and Asia. As a child I remember being fascinated and excited, to the point of salivation, by the sights and smells, the changes and differences of the textures and sounds and rhythms of life as we walked from one simple neighborhood to another.
English, of course, was spoken as a first language by my Mother’s generation (“The Greatest Generation” according to Tom Brokaw who knows, I think, just a little about generations and a bit less about greatness) but Mom married an Irishman and moved to Ohio and Sicilian became a forgotten language in my family by the time I began to appreciate the fact that I wanted to learn it.
So it was, with a certain amount of consternation, that I read and heard and viewed yesterday the reports of the comments of Newton Leroy Gingrich as he addressed the National Federation of Republican Women (try and get a decent drink and a fair shake around that crowd). Newton, it is reported, described Espanol as the “Language of the ghetto” a comment which I’m sure was well received by the glossy lipped pack of reactionary babes he was addressing but it did not sit comfortably with me.
“The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. . . . We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto,”
As always, Newt, is being Newt, which is to say he acts the fool and lies at the same time, Newton is a prevaricating, multi-tasking carnie, he couldn’t tell the truth if he had a mouthful of it.
Spanish “the language of the GHETTO.”
The language spoken by perhaps eight percent of the world’s population, some 450 million people in countries with diverse civilizations and histories much longer than that of his own country, who read and speak the language of Pablo Neruda, of Juan Luis Borges, of Cervantes and Gabriel García Márquez, a language of love, of beauty, of art and elegance, a language of flamenco and bullfights, of Moorish Castles and torrid desert winds.
That it is spoken in ghettos in this country is largely due to the efforts of elitist filth like Newton Leroy Gingrich who spend their entire lives working to bring about the economic conditions that create ghettos. All languages are represented in the ghettos of Newton’s elitist world, I’m sure that the English that I speak qualifies me for residence in one of his ghettos
I have had the displeasure, since the late seventies, of being aware of this unseemly, frankly disgusting little person, this newt, who, through the Machiavellian machinations of modern money politics, managed to pimp himself out to corporate America and Jerry Falwell’s fundamentalist right, Moral Majority and rise to be a star of one of the most corrupt and dangerous social movements in American history.
Little Newton Leroy, opportunist supremo, the man who took out a contract on America in 94, who left the House in disgrace, is now carefully positioning himself as the guy who can best represent the Republican Party.
He is being pitched as presidential material by that right reverend rogue of righteousness James Dobson, as well as Jerry Falwell who did so much to assist in the 94 sabotage of America. Newton is perfect for the role he has chosen, having long been a zealot himself, he will blend right in with the Dobson and Falwell band of fraudulent religious fanatics and con men, he is, after all, a hypocrite’s hypocrite and a liar’s liar. He believes that his time has come and the party’s fundamentalist Christian wacko base will boost him into the big saddle. I swear, I can smell the little weasel bastard thinking.
A few weeks before the 94 midterm election I spoke with a congressman for whom I was working as a volunteer. He candidly told me that he believed that he had never in his life met what he considered to be a thoroughly evil man until he met Newton Leroy Gingrich. I believed him at that moment because I knew him to be a serious and decent man of talent and integrity who would not slander. The passing years have only amplified that view of Newton in my mind, I find this guy to be truly despicable as are the tittering “ladies” whom he graced with his racist remarks, as despicable as the Republican crowd that greeted Ann Coulter’s recent comments about John Edwards being a “faggot” with gales of raucous laughter.
In the end though, these are just modern Republicans being themselves, being their piggish, hypocritical, elitist, racist, chicken hawk selves.
I think Newton Leroy is the natural leader of the modern Neo Conservative Theocratic Fascist Republican Party and I hope that when he and Falwell and Dobson finish making their spiritual bed and lie down together for whatever flimflam they can concoct to follow the big con we have suffered for the last six years, I hope, I pray, he gets the nomination.
Running against a party and a candidate who are such transparent and evil frauds will be an elucidating experience for the electorate, following the lessons learned from the present gang of criminals and incompetents.
Watching people like Newton and Coulter et al give the speeches, openly sharing their hatred of America, it’s Constitution and body of law, their intolerance of ethnic minorities, gays, women, and non Christians and using epithets to generalize about enormous groups of people while the hair sprayed church “ladies” guffaw and snort, titter and fart and gaily applaud, may just lead the real working people of this country, what has grown to become the “great washed,” many of whom live in ghettos and many of whom habla espanol or Sicilian or English, to make a mad dash to vote for just about any damn Democratic candidate with a vision that will repair America and continue the idea of America, and convince them that there is still an America at all.
So, what the hell, Newton Leroy, I’ll borrow a phrase popularized by the Chief Cowboy Chicken Hawk.
Bring it on.