The day after Barack Obama‘s inauguration as President of the United States of America, all the Italian newspapers on display at our local news-stand had Obama related headlines.
Italy seems to want to embrace the Obama bandwagon.
The trouble is that there just is no real Obama equivalent in Italy, even if Italy’s wily politicians would have you believe differently. The closest Italy comes to having an Obama like character is Antonio Di Pietro, but he is neither as dynamic, nor as good an orator as President Obama. Di Pietro is very much regarded as being part of the old guard, not as being fresh, innovative, and new like Obama.
And there are no black politicians in Italy, or at least none of them have made it into Italy’s suntanned parliament.
However, Italy’s politicians do rather like the idea of being viewed in the same light as Barack Obama, even if the Italian population lacks both the rose tinted glasses and the squint necessary to see any of the existing bunch of political movers and shakers as being capable of shining Obama like rays of hope on Italy.
In many respects though, Italy is nowhere near as deep in the mire as the US has managed to get itself.
Americans Come to Italy
You are more likely to find Americans wanting to set up shop in Italy, than Italians wishing to start a new life in the United States. Those Italians who do end up in the USA, go there not because they dislike Italy so much as detest the lack of opportunities here, and the virtual non-existence of any form of meritocracy.
Ironically, it is possibly easier for non-Italians to get on in Italy than it is for many of the country’s own population. Foreigners do seem to be regarded with a certain amount of awe, unless they happen to be immigrants from a poor African countries, alas. Even so, there are many Italians who think that those from the USA and the UK who want to set up shop here must have a screw loose. Other Italians are flattered though.
Despite the odd politicians and funny organisation, it is possible to have a great life here.
Italians Don’t Appreciate Italy
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
Italy has it all, however many Italians, up to and including Italy’s current number one, Silvio Berlusconi, even if he does make flippant comments which would have many believe differently, do not appreciate just how special their country is.
Italy does not need change, so much as order. An Italian style Barack Obama could make a huge difference. It’s a shame, though, that someone like Barack Obama just does not seem to exist here
Not ‘Yes we can’, in Italy but a big ‘No we can’t’. For the foreseeable future anyway. Until, that is, Italians wake up to the splendour of their country.
Note to any Italians reading: Go live in another country for a few years. Then come back. You will see Italy in a new, and hopefully, better light. And I have no intention of moving back to the UK, if I can possibly help it! Ever. (Between you and me, if I ever had to leave Italy, I’d prefer to go live in the USA.)
Life in Italy is Good
But life here is not too bad, and Italy’s great climate, lovely cuisine, delightful wine, and dreamy landscapes, do tend to distract Italians from pushing for changes which would transform Italy into one of the best places in the world to live.
Ecstasy and Fear
Oh, and it’s fabulous to see a black president of the United States. I do sincerely hope that Barack Obama does not meet the same fate as John F Kennedy, although I tend to fear that he will. America may have a black president, but I’m not too sure it’s ready for one just yet. If I were a religious type, I would pray that nothing bad ever befell Obama. And I would hope that the Almighty is going to send Obama his very own guardian angel.
And finally, the little poll you that lurked on left hand side of this page, which was entitled ‘Will Obama change the world?’, produced an interesting result. Yes, there are only 50 odd votes, but the results seem to indicate great uncertainty.
To see how Obamaism has been used to try to convince Italians to put on rose tinted spectacles, you might like to see the For Which It Stands: Italy article over on GlobalPost.