The Italian Election: Two Responses

The principle is simple: what do Italians hate? Austerity. What did Berlusconi promise? The end of austerity…. A vote for Berlusconi was a vote against Germany…. His laconic magic is the product of German foreign policy. Many Italians, at least those who voted for him, believe that now the big “euro fraud” will come to light. Germany is a fantastic country with remarkable economic power, but the advantages that it reaps from the euro are disproportionate to what it puts into it…. The idea is simple: “You gave us austerity, we give you Berlusconi….” Don’t ask why the Italians should vote against Berlusconi, but why they vote for him…. And also how a big country like Germany should use its leadership role in Europe. — The European, February 26

Does Italy, in its crisis-defying equanimity, hold lessons for us all? Last time I was there, three months ago, I was struck by an enduring humanity that gets lost elsewhere as pressures grow and life accelerates. Where interactions often seem purely transactional in New York or London – what can you do for me now this minute and if you can’t do anything why don’t you get out of my way? – they have an added layer in Rome. Encounters are more lingering. The eye dwells a moment, takes you in, registers your particular existence. These are Italian moments. — Roger Cohen in The New York Times, February 24


3 responses to “The Italian Election: Two Responses

  1. My wife has a solution for Italy (and the Vatican). Make Berlusconi pope.

    • I don’t think she has what it takes to be a Cardinal, so she won’t be voting, I guess – but the conclave could find worse advice than Chaviva might offer it.

  2. Probably this is a very simple comment – but Berlusconi is a despicable sleazy billionaire buying votes and influence – and this is somehow good for Italy? about the Pope comment – I think the world’s Catholics deserve better.
    And maybe Europe should give up on the euro – why should stronger economies support currupt, weaker or poorer ones that really don’t want to deal with their own tax and economic weaknesses?