Italians have 14 political parties to choose from in the upcoming Senate elections

And before you think “choice” is a beautiful thing, listen to how it works in Italy. Because they have a parliamentary system of government, meaning, more or less, the parties need to form coalitions with other parties to create a government. Sounds nice and “let’s all work together” doesn’t it? Except it means that one small party can pull out and bring the government crashing down. This has been happening a lot in Italy for several decades now, governments coming crashing down after only a short time in office. It’s led to a lot of instability, and Italy, from what I’m told, is starting to fall backward while countries that were once not as rich as Italy, like Spain, continue to move ahead economically. It’s very sad. Italy is an amazing country. Culture, architecture, cuisine, a 2,000 year old ruin on practically every corner, and some damn nice (and good looking) people. It makes no sense that a country this rich should continue to be run so poorly. Then again, we should talk.

Oh yeah, Italy. I forgot to mention. I was invited a while back to give a series of talks to Italian university students, and journalists, about how we’re using blogs and the Internet in the US for the elections (and overall politics). Italy is pretty behind in using the Net for everything (I’m told Berlusconi, the man who once was, and is soon expected again to be, Prime Minister, doesn’t even have a campaign Web site). It’s been really interesting. Some of the students speak English, others not so well (in contrast to Greece, where fluency in English in Athens was RAMPANT – I mean it was downright bizarre how well the Greeks, in Athens at least, now speak English). But in Italy, not so much. So some of my talks have been in English, others I’ve given in Italian, which makes it a lot harder, but it’s also fun. There’s something about experiencing another country in their own language that makes the experience more authentic to me. It’s interesting the perspective you get on your own country, your own politics, your own nation’s future, when traveling abroad. Some people think foreign travel is all milk and cookies, but it’s really not. It’s fun, yeah, but actually can be quite lonely as well. But at it’s best, it’s more fascinating than anything else. It’s hard to tool around 20 feet below ground in a 2,500 year old Etruscan tomb, looking at a frieze of some long-forgotten very-important-dead-guy (an Italian Ozymondias) and his loving family, and not get a sense of perspective.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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