Great Moments in Italian American Political Speech-making

Jul 19, 2016 1673

1947. The great New York populist Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (pictured) gave the last known public speaking engagement of his life. The 5'2″ WWI hero with a history of personally relishing political combat, made this stinging appraisal, "My generation has failed miserably. We've failed because of lack of courage and vision. It requires more courage to keep the peace than to go to war."

1984 and 1992. New York Governor Mario Cuomo gave his acclaimed "Shining City on a Hill" speech at the Democratic National Convention. Not good enough? He followed that oratorical highlight up with his "Quiet Catastrophes" speech at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. "Billions for war," said Cuomo, somewhat channeling LaGuadia. "Billions for earthquakes if they strike, God forbid, and hurricanes... If we can do all of this for these spectacular catastrophes when they occur, why can we not find the wealth to respond to the quiet catastrophes that every day oppress the lives of thousands, that destroy our children..."

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