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Happy Birthday America

America has always represented in the collective image from the Pilgrim Fathers to the Sicilian immigrants in the beginning of the 1900s, the dream of a New World – one without the ugliness that through the centuries has irreversibly corroded old Europe. Maybe the intentions of those landing with the Mayflower were genuine, but actually in the holds of their ships they transported the old torture instruments, premonitions and cruel heralds of a story of torture, ferocity and blood no different from that of the Old World.



On the Fourth of July, America stops to celebrate herself in a way that is not only a day off like April 25 or June 2 for us, but a real holiday every American observes almost sacredly. It’s Independence Day, commemorative of the historic unanimous declaration of independence made by the then thirteen states – actual Birth Certificate of the United States of America. This date is emblematic of the American Dream and the model of life that invaded the world with Hollywood, Coca-Cola, chewing gum, blue jeans, cars ( Hot Rods and Cadillacs), T.V., and Rock and Roll. Until the first ten years of the last century, Europe, with her science, technology; economy, culture and military and political power had dominated the world scene. Just a few years of terrible history with senseless errors was enough to put Europe in the backseat giving way to the Land of Open Spaces. World History has never seen such a rapid decline. The great civilizations of the Orient, the Ancient Greeks, the  Roman and British Empires have all fallen, but slowly – much more slowly than modern Europe.


With two world wars, the Americans became the paladins of liberty and western security – and America the Promised Land, the Utopia where to realize the Impossible Dream and the Never Never Land of boundless prairies and infinite opportunity. In recent years, perhaps to avoid the dissipation of this image so woven of hopes and dreams, other aspects of the American reality are overlooked: the internal contradictions, the racial strife and subsequent elimination of young black leaders, international intrigue and political and financial scandal ( Watergate, Sexgate and Enron ) mass murderers and murdering in masses (Charles Manson, Son of Sam and Jonestown and Houston, Tx.), to arrive at the phenomenon of terrorism that has more than anything else bowed optimistic heads from looking faithfully toward the unmovable Happy End – founding principle of the American Dream. When Americans are afraid they look up; Not for logical reasons neither for geo- political))) nor religious ones although their heritage («in God we Trust, ª) is certainly a healthy if mechanical reflex (((but through their obedience to the cinematographic oracles that in seventy years of celluloid (nightmares? ) and other twenty of digital delirium have imprinted. “Love Triumphs and Justice is for All…” («It’s a Wonderful Life,”).


Right to Happiness

Today, July 4, in sending best wishes to America, we can (take act) of some positive American values and recognize, besides her great expanses, the basis of her power in some fundamental conquests: the genius of organization and the positive results her faith in education and technology brought where she wisely invested more than anyone else (the flip-side of the before mentioned “Gates” – Bill Gates). The greatest element, for which we should always be grateful to the United States of America, is the affirmation of a right never before guaranteed in any Paper or Declaration, in world history. The Civil Rights Paper which preludes the birth of the United States affirms, “man has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…,”….. The pursuit of happiness! An affirmation so different to upset the old order of the world tumbling down century old prejudices like the wall of Jericho under the celestial trumpets. It’s the cry of new humanity, a song louder than a thousand pianos able to vibrate the immense assembly of humankind and put in motion millions of men towards the conquest of their dignity. That man has the right to happiness is born from a vision able to throw off the charts the entire old mental scheme of a defeated humanity. It’s the glowing idea able to pay our debts and give us and end. Man was not cursed forever. Suffering, ageing, getting sick and dying are not unavoidable sentences and can no longer be accepted as final destination of man and his natural condition.


The Declaration has a Neapolitan Father

Exactly one year ago, July 4, 2002, from the pages of this newspaper, I revealed the discovery that the expression believed to be coined by the group of legislator – philosophers headed by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, comes instead from Italy. The first draft of the declaration read, “Men have the right to own property,” but this proposal of John Locke did not convince Benjamin Franklin, father of the American Revolution, that here did an extraordinary thing – sent a delegation in Italy, Naples to be precise, with the rough draft of the birth certificate of the new nation and the mission to encounter who was to complete it: Gaetano Filangieri.

Now we know that the birth certificate of the United States has a Neapolitan father. The idea of the right to happiness was born from the intelligence and civil passion of Gaetano Filangieri, one of the highest voices of European consciousness. Benjamin Franklin mounted his words like a jewel together with the pursuit of life and liberty in that unanimous declaration of the thirteen colonies. This document will remain a monument to the hope of humanity to create a just and prosperous society, to become one day an immortal and happy people.

Between ‘man has a right to the pursuit of happiness,’ coined by Filangieri, inserted in the text of the Declaration, and ‘man has a right to property,’ proposed by Locke, there is an abyss. The rise that the U.S.A. will experience from among the nations of the earth, the capacity to attract and to assimilate men from every part of the planet, drawn by the intense scent of liberty which is American dream, all find origin and explanation in that grain of immortality, in that luminous seed planted in the Declaration. From this the economy and power of the United States developed. The right to the pursuit of happiness becomes more American than the Ol’ Stars and Stripes itself and is the highest expression of the principles of the mission of that country. The story of America began in Italy with Columbus’s discovery and returns here for a Birth Certificate coined by Filangieri.

I couldn’t find a better occasion than the Fourth of July to affirm my conviction that the fragment of immortality which made its way to the forefront of that treatise, the real origin of every wellbeing of which America has then enjoyed for over two centuries. The signs of decadence of that society have in passing time become many and acute. The promise to the world, of availability towards its problems of capacity to embrace peoples and civilizations was never realized. The destruction of the Twin Towers of September 11, the only visible sign of a long degradation of the dream that gradually transformed in greed and lust for power and not infrequently in abuse. The conflict, the criminality, an economy with a death machine at the centre the biggest war industry in the world go in the opposite direction of those values of dignity and liberty indicated by the dream. When a society has a number of obese people way over 50% it doesn’t need tables to show its sabotage and disaster.


America is a state of Being.

Anyway today, the Fourth of July, I would like to remind the many anti-Americans, professional Cassandras and soothsayers that America is not only a nation and should neither be reduced to a geographical expression. She is in reality the materialization of a dream that has distant roots that we all carry in a secret fold of our being, in the deepest part, better than we are. America is that dream of beauty and happiness that our fathers dreamed of over 3000 years ago on the coast of the Attica and in that amniotic liquid we still swim, unborn babes of that age of giants. America is that part of us that still aspires to a New World that wants happiness and has sworn to be free. If America has failed, we have to blame ourselves and recognize that she was a dream we were unable to nurture and defend. We must recognize that we are not yet ready to live in that condition of spirit, neither as individuals nor as a species.

America is again a failed experiment – part of a long story of attempts to create a happy and just society. America, ideal heir to Filangieri, idealist and giurist, still believes that happiness can come from outside. Like Rousseau, we still believe that the changing of laws, the republic, democracy, and the liberation of political and civil institutions can bring happiness to the people. We still ignore that happiness is only possible on an individual basis. Only he who has defeated in himself conflicting logic, opposite forces that are constantly fighting in the heart of every man had the right to happiness. Only a happy man can change the economy and bring healing to the age- old problems of the world.