fotoflexer_bolognaWhile this is certainly an historic day for the U.S.A., and, perhaps, Earth and beyond, I cannot help but feeling a twee wistful. Sure, it is great that Americans of all races, creeds and colors could come together to celebrate the inauguration of President Barack Obama. And while I wish to take nothing away from our new president, who will undoubtly go down as the greatest president of the early 21st Century, I can’t help but call attention to the fact that we as a nation have yet to elect an Italian-American president. Why?

In this Sunday’s NY Times, there was a lengthy (and by “lengthy” I mean I didn’t read it) article about how popular films and television shows paved the way for an Obama presidency. That depictions of African-American presidents in shows such as “24” , and African-American doctors from shows like “Cosby” made all Americans comfortable in voting for Obama. Well, with the exception of racists.

Of course, if positive images of African-Americans in popular culture lead to the election of Obama, then conversely the portrayals of Italian-Americans has lead to more arrests. Fungol! Most Americans cannot look at an Italian-American without hearing Christopher Columbus telling Bugs Bunny, “Hey a, Bugs-a Bunny, Imma gonna kill you!” More parts of the globe are named for Columbus than anyone else, but to Looney Tunes Columbus was a buffoon.

Need more proof? Eric Roberts in “The Dark Knight.” Eric Roberts in “The Pope of Greenwich Village.” Or Eric Roberts in “Married to the Mob.” Oh, wait, that was Michelle Pfeiffer. Still, you see my point.

The “West Wing” did not elect an Italian-American president. Alan Alda lost. To a Mexican.  “Frost/Nixon” wasn’t about a crooked I-tie, was it? “Swing Vote” didn’t elect a Cump. Actually, I’m not sure about that one since I stopped watching Kevin Costner movies. Point is, where are the positive images of Italian-Americans for people to get behind. Rudy Guiliani? Fahgeddaboddit.

Well, we have 8 years to work on this. Let’s start with a letter writing campaign to Hollywood, Sundance and Mumbai. Start with something to get their attention like, Dear Youse, How’d you like I break your face? Eric Roberts? ‘Scuse me? No, give me a break!” If we all work together, then maybe we’ll live to see Senator Corleone, Governor Corleone or President Corleone.