Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Santorum's Red Roots

A recent article on Yahoo News brings up a surprising fact about Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum's family background. Apparently, Santorum's antecedents in Italy were, and still are, ardent communists. They fled to the United States from Italy in the wake of persecution by Mussolini's government. His current relatives express disgust at Santorum's rhetoric.

My Gut Reaction: It sounds like I'll have to go from calling Rick Santorum "Ranger Rick" to "Big Red."

Analysis: This news really has no real relevance, in one sense. A man's family should not reflect on himself, particularly ancestors who died before he was even born. Rick Santorum is no more responsible for his grandparents' actions than Obama is for his father's.

However, the Santorum family's story does debunk one of the major talking points of the far right: the idea that communism and fascism are identical ideologies. Like other communists, they had to flee fascist Italy for fear that they would be persecuted for their political beliefs. Other communists, such as the thinker Antonio Gramsci, died as a result of fascist imprisonment. In light of these historical issues, treating socialists and fascists as identical is frankly silly.

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