Don Edwards Literary Memorial

May 8, 2006

Italian Politics

Buenos Dias, LeRoy.

Yes, this morning I was in chapel, watching the sun come up over the mountains in east Ajijic. And for reasons I cannot possibly articulate, I thought of the Italian government.

Once, around 1977, I went on a cruise to Tunesia with all the “winners” of awards in IBM Italy. Of all the assignments, I liked living in Italy the most. Italians have good values. Family and friends are number one, vino and pasta are number two, where you go for your vacation is probably number three and so on.

On the ship I had an occasion to spend some time with the general manager of IBM Italy, a tall, urbane, aristocratic man. I, naively, asked him why the Italian governments seemed so disorderly, every couple of years collapsing and regrouping. He looked at me as the politically dumb person I was. Here’s what he said to me.

“We don’t need a government. All important decisions are made between the Vaticano, the Mafia and the Industrial giants like Fiat and IBM. The only reason we have a government at all is because other countries, the United States for example, won’t lend us money if we don’t have one. So we elect and play and posture and collapse and regroup in our elective body. It is great theater. Any other questions?”

“Yes,” I said. “If the Vatican doesn’t like someone, do they get the Mafia to wack that guy?”

He just looked at me, smiled, waved to a waiter, ordered a Sambuca con mosca (coffee beans, looking like flies), and just toasted me silently as we watched seagulls.

Sounds a lot like Mexico.

My best this fine day.


Filed under: DON POSTS — Don @ 12:05 pm

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