and African stndies; sabers and computers;rnthe past and the future. Such contradictionsrnseem vnder control at the moment,rn\ itli convictions of various sortsrnenjoying respect, or at least tolerance.rnBut such is the modern obsession withrnsafety’ and health that one can imagine arnmovement just to get rid of the old waysrnand old ideas. The feminization ofrnA&M, like the feminizahon of the military,rnand of the church, and of a lot ofrnother inshtutions, challenges every insHtutionrnperceived as male, wholly or partly.rn(Do any wholly male institutions,rncome to think of it, remain, outside thernRoman Catholic priesthood?)rnriic Aggie bonfire, conceived b’rnmales, built by males—though a womanrnstudent-worker died in the bonfire’s collapsern—exemplifies A&M’s male past. Irnhave the sense that the feminists, for sentimentalrnor programmatic reasons, arerncoming after the bonfire, and that theyrnmay enjoy some success at smoothingrndown its rough places, making it perhaps,rnin time, just another event on the schoolrncalendar instead of a fiery link betweenrnA&M’s past and its present. And thenrnwhat? The Corps—even though it has arnfew women? The uniforms, the yells, thernboots and spurs. . . the tradihon?rnIt mav or may not matter. There was arnTexas before the old A&M; there will berna Texas if all the old fades away. But yournhate to see it, and you hate to see it donernfor imbecoming reasons. Wordsworthrnhad it about right, if you’ll pardon thernpre-P.C. lingo: “Men are we and mustrnmourn when e’en the shade / Of thatrnwhich once was great has passed away.”rnWilliam Ahirchison is a nationallyrnsyndicated columnist for the DallasrnMorning News.rnLetter From Italyrnby Alberto CarosarnThe European Kerensky?rn”Prodi, the Italian Kerensky?” was the intriguingrnheadline of a full-page ad by arnChristian-inspired group, Centra Culturalernl£panto (CCL), in two major Italianrndailies, // Gioniale and // Tempo, on Mayrn14, 1996. In that manifesto, CCL presidentrnRoberto de Mattei, professor ofrnmodern histor}- at the Ihiivcrsit)’ of Cassinornand one of the most vibrant conser’ativernleaders in Italy, argued that, just asrnKerensky paved the way for Lenin, thernnewly elected Italian Prime Minister RomanornProdi woidd perform the samernfunction for the Italian Lenin, MassimornD’Alema.rnRomano Prodi, an economist and formerrnpublic-holding company executive,rnled the left-of-center Olive Tree Alliancernto victory in the April 1996 elections.rnUnrepentant communist MassimornD’Alema (who later boasted, “I am not arnpost-communist, I have been a leader ofrnthe Italian Communist Party and I amrnproud of it”) led the dominant stakeholderrnin the alliance, the PDS, now renamedrnsimply the DS.rnThe Prodi victory was one of the perverserneffects of an awkward electoral systemrnv’hich appears to have been conceivedrnto make winners losers, and losersrnwinners. In absolute terms, the oppositionrnFreedom P’ront finished ahead ofrnthe Olive Tree, 16.48 million votes torn16.27 million. To control a majorit)- inrnthe lower house, Romano Prodi had tornturn to the 35 MPs from the hard-linernMarxist Communist Refoundation.rnProdi’s Popular Party, the left rump ofrnthe defunct Christian Democrat party,rnwon just 6.8 percent of the vote, but Prodirncontributed crucially to the Olive Treernvictory. His ever- smiling, reassuring, safernimage as a moderate Catholic and regularrnchurchgoer proved the ideal decoy forrnhis communist allies. He perfectly embodiedrnthe “fellow traveler” and “usefulrninnocenf (others would say “useful idiot”)rnwliose role is to provide eommuni.stdoniinatedrncoalitions with the necessaryrnfayade of moderation to attract support.rnBut at least Prodi had to pass an electoralrntest. His successor, D’Alema, resortedrnto a boardroom coup which pushedrnhim to the premiership in October 1998rnwith the support—or connivance —ofrntwo other Catholics: then-state presidentrnOscar Luigi Scalfaro and his former colleaguernFrancesco Cossiga. While thernformer asked D’Alema to form a new government,rnthe latter secured the indispensablernsupport of his post-ChristianrnDemocrat Union for the Republicrn(UDR) party’s 29 MPs, including a numberrnof turncoats who were elected onrncenter-right opposition Freedom Frontrnslates but jumped on the UDR bandwagon,rnlured by possible ministerial posts.rnThus Massimo D’Alema’s shortcut tornpower confirmed the old axiom that, inrnWestern covmtries, communists wouldrnnever ascend to government leadershiprnthrough a normal electoral process.rnSo Roberto De Mattel’s predictionrncame true. But what De Mattei did notrnenvision was that Prodi might also gorndown in history as the European Kerensky!rnOn September 15, 1999, after a longrnand at times stormy debate, the EuropeanrnUnion Parliament voted Prodi andrnthe 14 men and five women on his teamrninto office.rnSome analysts believe that the appointmentrnof Prodi as head of the EuropeanrnCommission is an exemplary applicationrnof a promoveatur iit amoveaturrnstrateg)’: namely, the removal of a stumblingrnblock by its promotion. In this case,rnthe stumbling block was Prodi’s newly establishedrn”Donkey” party, the Democrats,rnwho are in vengefid competitionrnwith D’Alema’s DS party. This cordd bernpartiy true, but it is by no means the completernpicture. After all, Prodi’s success inrnthe role of the Italian Kerensky is his onlyrnreal merit in the e’es of the internationalrnleft. In all other respects, his two-yearrnstint as Italy’s prime minister was a damprnsqiub. His legacy is a mammoth publicrndebt, rising unemployment, tax hikes, expandingrnimpoverishment, wild immigration,rnand rampant crime. According tornthe national statistics agency Istat, Italy’srneconomy grew 1.4 percent in 1998, thernslowest of any European country. Italyrnhas the highest imemployment rate inrnthe European Union; among youth underrn25, it has reached a record 32.1 percent.rnUnder Massimo D’Alema, the sihiationrnhas been no better; does historyrnoffer any precedent of a communist headrnof government successfidly healing therneconomic woes of his countn?rnProdi was part of the old DC nomenklatura,rnwhich was swept away by anticorruptionrninvestigations. Within thisrnnomenklatura, he held top political andrneconomic positions, appointmentsrnwhich were rewards for party affiliationrnand subservience.rnProdi’s unanimous election —or uneleetedrnappointment —by the 15 E.U.rngovernments, 13 of which are in socialistrnhands, was puzzling. A notable contrastrnto this chorus of approval was a series ofrninvestigative reports last year in the DailyrnTelegraph on Prodi’s judicial misfortunes.rnThe first was significantly entitledrn”Criminal enquiries that cast a cloudrnover the past of Europe’s Mr. Clean.” InrnMARCH 2000/39rnrnrn