The Nauseating Nature of Italian Politics

Longtime readers of "MMC" will know that I typically avoid political discussions, and I am practically never, ever partisan... I believe that people tend to come to their individual political conclusions - whatever they may be - as a result of their own personal reasoned deliberations, and that needs to be respected.

But I guess every rule has an exception... Admittedly, politics is a messy business everywhere, and surely good taste is not a prerequisite. But exceedingly poor (even disgusting) taste seems to be becoming the political rule of the day here. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that Prime Minister Berlusconi's Hijinks Have Finally Raised Eyebrows in Italy, and today the Italian neo-fascist party is holding an election rally right around the corner from my house in Venice; they'd originally wanted to march very near - if not through - the historic Jewish quarter of the city! (That was cancelled, but needless to say, I'm not at my house today.)

But it doesn't end there. Check out the posters for the European Parliament elections which are coming up next week... You may have heard in the news that Italian has had a tremendous problem recently with embarkations of illegal immigrants. Well, the party of the Northern League, whatever valid points its platform may or may not have, tends to be notoriously jingoist about Northern Italians and denegrates nearly everyone from south of (and including!) Rome. The poster on the bottom left shows an American Indian and states, "They faced immigration. Now they live on reservations!" As an American, I was shocked and appalled that such an enormous miscarriage of justice by my own forefathers was being completely mischaracterized by the Lega for the sake of grossly misleading political propaganda.

But I believe that even that pales in comparison to what the party of the Radicali, practically the Italian equivalent of the Libertarians, are doing right now. Their politicians are wearing YELLOW STARS OF DAVID! Initially, I believed that they were doing it as an act of solidarity with the illegal immigrants who are being rounded up and kept in containment camps before being deported... and while I still found it deeply questionable equating this admittedly difficult human rights issue with the genocide of six million people, I thought at least I could understand why they were doing it. Instead, it turns out that they're wearing them just because they feel like their party is under-represented in the media!!! While I used to have respect for their leader, Marco Pannella, despite his sensationalist antics sometimes (he was instrumental for example in the legalization of divorce in Italy in the 1970s), this was the last straw!

I am officially disgusted... no, actually nauseated, by Italian politics.

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