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  • Italy Roots for Obama
    George W. Bush's buddy Silvio Berlusconi may be back in power in Italy, but the public is still hoping that the more liberal Barack Obama is the United States' next president
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    OCTOBER 26, 2008 - Wherever I went in Italy last month, I talked about the upcoming presidential election in the United States. It was all anyone wanted to discuss with me, an American, who can speak Italian fluently. The majority of Italians with whom I spoke are hoping Barack Obama is the next president of the United States. They want change, and they want it now.

    In June, a survey covering Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and Italy, showed that Obama would have won in Europe at that point by a landslide, according to the Telegraph. Americans in Italy have organized to support Obama. After speaking with my family and friends and even strangers in the airports, I can safely say that many Italians blame George W. Bush for the world's current economic woes, the war, and maybe even a proliferation of terrorist groups. The sentiment that the streets are paved with gold, and America is the land of opportunity is no longer valid among Italians. That mentality is something out of the history books for them. Today's United States, many of them say, is floundering, and it is taking the rest of the world down on the way.

    You kind of get the feeling that they are just hoping for the candidate that is the least like Bush. Still, that's not all that draws them to Obama. They are thoroughly impressed with him, especially his confidence, speaking abilities, and promises. They are pleased that he would like to speak with world leaders, even dictators and the so-called evil-doers. One of my friends told me he truly believes that Obama can make change. The hope is that Obama can get money back in the pockets of Americans, which help get it back in the pockets of Italians and others.

    Despite their desire to see Obama in the Oval Office, many Italians with whom I spoke have little faith in the people of the United States. They believe many Americans are racist and will not vote for Obama because of his race. They fear that there will be serious threats to his life should he win.

    Change, however, is notoriously difficult in Italy. Although the government changes as frequently as a man changes his underwear, the individuals running Italy often have trouble getting things done because of bureaucracy and the many political parties. Even though the country as a whole seems to despise Bush, they still let Berlusconi, a great friend and ally to Bush, return as prime minister when Romano Prodi was unable to deliver. The irony is that they want the complete opposite of Bush in the next American president but they have the same ol' thing in Berlusconi.

    It certainly will be interesting to see what happens after Election Day. The Italians can have all the opinions they'd like, but they don't get to vote in the American election. It will be the American people who decide the country's - and some would argue the world's - fate.

    Di Meglio is the guide to Newlyweds for About.com, where you can get information on everything from having sex for the first time on your wedding night to china patterns.

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