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April 08, 2008



OK. My days as an Italian political commentator are over. I reckon I hit my hand, and then my head, because I was spending too much time thinking about politics. As they say in England, 'Whoever you vote for, the government always gets in.'
Glad to see there's a good degree of cynicism around in blog-world...


That whole religion-sex-and-politics avoidance is one of the things that didn't get thrown into the Boston Harbor. I've always thought it odd as to me they are pretty important topics, and so I've never avoided them unless the comfort of my present company required it.

Your sentiments on Italian politics reminded of a recent experience, from which I will retain many things. A couple of weeks ago Erin and I went to Sicilia for the first time. In Trapani we stayed with an amazing man whom we had met on http://www.couchsurfing.com/. Every night we were with him we ate dinner together with some of his Dutch friends who had come to help him tend to his place (part B+B, part farm, plus a place for couch surfers). We had great conversations on social issues, cultural differences, and of course, politics. This is an older man who unlike the stereotypical Siciliano, is well-travelled and well-rounded. Like you I know little about how the Italian political system is structured, but he said a few things that just fascinated me. One was, "in theory we [Italy] have the most democratic system in the world, and it doesn't work!" He went on to share his longings for a system more similar to the US, where there are 2 parties (this of course isn't true, but there is something desperately different that prevents the fragility found in the Italian system). The saddest thing was a personal view he shared, which was "it's too late, we are stuck."

This really helped give me an insight into the Italian perspective of politics, and perhaps a bit of an answer as to why Italians are so untrusting. Personally I think anyone in the western world that is paying even the slightest bit of attention holds a measurable degree cynicism. However in the end we generally believe in our systems and that the power for us to be heard, and more importantly to affect change individually, has been architected into their foundations. I believe that Italians differ greatly on this, and I have seen this not only from my experience in that visit, but also in the staggering amount of anti-voting propaganda that can be seen spray-painted on building walls in Firenze, Trapani, and Palermo (not to mention the fliers). I was really taken by how many times I've seen "NON VOTARE" appear as the elections neared. Of course this degree of distrust exists in other countries including the US, but it seems so much more prevalent here.

Sorry to have left a full post as a comment, it just kept coming!


OUCH!! Be careful, would ya!! :)


I was over there Easter week and couldn't believe all the hype surrounding the election and the meetings in the town squares etc. It really takes over, it's so quiet here election time!



America is up next. I hope we can do better!!


And yet... The guy with the dyed hair and false smile does it again!


hope the fingers are all doing ok.
Take those topics away and the Italian gentlemen in suites drinking espresso would have nothing to talk about!:)


Always keep your eye on the the Ball first rule
second rule don't hammer down to hard ,its always bound to get hit that thumb that sticks its business were it shouldn't!
As far as Italian elections and the system go I for one being an Italian citizen and ;living else where voted by mail, although the seeds of Democracy and doing the right thing are there , the sands of dark influences from the seedy underbelly of pay offs buries any good that may come about. It has been this way since time immemorial.


There's only one politician I can think of with dyed hair and a false smile.

But let's not be too hard on the Italians, there are plenty of false smiles in British politics too (although we are behind on the dyed hair stats).

As for political manoeuvrings, can anyone name me a country whose politicians are ALL truly altruistic?

Look, call me a grumpy old woman, but altruistic politicians (grey-haired, bald or otherwise)are becoming an endangered species.

Don't blame me... you were warned not to talk about politics. Now you just have to write a post on the other two subjects.

Amy B

When I was young (& stupid!) studying in Roma I became involved in one of these political conversations between an Italian & a fellow male student - I was acting as translator..... Well, this was during the Gulf War, the conversation became "heated" & the next thing I knew a professor was quickly taking me away before things came to blows. I keep thinking that I must have mistranslated! Thank you for the walk down memory lane - I had completely forgotten this episode until I read your tale of Italian politics.

Grazie, Amy

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso

Regarding your momentary lapse: ouch.

Regarding Italian politics: ouch squared.

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