Tuesday, April 8, 2008

on politics

So, we are going to be in italy for their parliamentary elections on april 13th and 14th. The italians have a man named berlusconi running against a guy called veltroni. berlousconi is like what you would think of rupert murdoch running for president, and veltroni has likened himself to our wonderkinz, obama. even adopting his little chant in the form of "si puo fare," or - yes we can.
i have been wearing an obama pin around europe thus far (except when i was sick for a while and didnt want to strike up conversations) and i have gotten so much positivity from people. from older american rich liberal women in line at the alhambra to bartenders at 150 year old taverns in madrid to bookshop keepers in florence who talk about the amount of books obama is selling abroad to young italian boys who love to yell "yeah, obama" to look cool and educated to the girls they are with. it is quite amazing to me how much american culture and politics is known throughout the world, and i think this is something we, as americans, take for granted. we still set the pace. our mcdonalds and our video games as well as our political leaders are known and a part of quotidian for people across the world. my self-loathing as an ugly american tourist is starting to overturn more and more with every response i get to my pin. every smile or prolonged glance makes me feel privileged and aware, but cautious. i am not proud of american idol being exported into the minds of young people across europe. (alex and i watched the french version - nouvelle star - and the cheesiness and the sheer amounts of cuts and camera angles literally made it physically difficult to watch). so it is a careful line i toe, knowing the ugliness that america brings, but the hope that brings us together.

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