We Can Agree and Disagree

Washington, DC. A rabid fan of House of Cards, and a self-diagnosed political junkie, I can tell you from personal experience that the nation’s capital is simply a most captivating venue – particularly in autumn.  Yet the capitol is an enigma of sorts. It is home to some of the world’s best museums, incredible architecture, and is the seat of power for these great United States of America. Kevin Spacey’s character in House of Cards, the ominous Frank Underwood, derisively offers his commentary on the various politicos that swarm the capitol: “proximity to power deludes some into thinking they wield it.” It is this side of coin – the cynicism, the disconnect, and the place where the nation appears trapped in endless debate and disagreement and which has fueled considerable discontent with Americans of all political stripes – that represents the dichotomy of Washington, DC.

Italian-American lawyers in the National Italian American Bar Association fully understand the benefit of constructive debate and disagreement. Italians are understood to be expressive. Growing up in Italian families, so many of us were encouraged to have and share our opinions with our parents, our siblings, our relatives, and our friends. And share we did. Those famous Sunday lunches, the great big Italian weddings, the impromptu get-togethers – Italians love a good argument and they are passionate in their beliefs. Couple this natural enthusiasm for good dialogue with the formal training required to be a lawyer and you’ve got one helluva combination.

And in NIABA, while we do let our voices be heard and have had our moments of heated conversation where differing positions have been brought before the organization, we also understand the fundamental need to find compromise, to respect each other, and to find value in opposing views. NIABA has done this successfully for more than 30 years. It is why so many of us are committed to our mission statement, to our long-term viability and, ultimately, to each other. And there is no greater victory than winning your argument by bettering it with the input and effective criticism of those who were initially inclined to disagree with you. That is quintessentially Italian.

NIABA will be in Washington, DC for the Fall Meeting of the Board of Directors of our organization, to take place from October 23 to 26, 2014. A full itinerary of our events is available. We invite you to join us for lively conversation and a glass of wine. And while we may, at some point in our discussion, disagree, I can assure you that the experience will never be disagreeable. Ci vediamo!!

Dino Mazzone
Montreal, Québec

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