[reddit-me]Alexander Smoltczyk of Der Spiegel, an influential European newsmagazine, writes of Silvio Berlusconi’s challenger, Walter Veltroni, a dour and uninspiring liberal who lost in yesterday’s Italian elections:
“It is difficult to give them hope. But we can do it,” says Veltroni. “Obama has also done it.”
Veltroni’s campaign slogan is: “Si può fare,” or “Yes, we can” in Italian. “I met Obama in Washington,” says Veltroni. “He was different. Modern and inspiring. I wrote the foreword to the Italian edition of his book.” Perhaps it was intended as an attempt to influence Veltroni’s own destiny.
“Si può fare” are the words printed on the cardboard signs that Veltroni’s audiences wave when he speaks on their piazzas. But there is something unreal about the slogan, especially in light of the stonewalling and bureaucracy and ineptness Veltroni himself has complained about, and in light of the Italian sickness.
There is no Obama in Italy.
The article makes very clear that Mr. Veltroni was not as skilled of a politician Obama. But read the last sentence of that piece again:
“There is no Obama in Italy.”
It seems to say more, to hint at something that “Obama” means – something that we in America easily lose sight of as the bickering and knee-capping among the candidates obscures it.
“Obama” represents – to much of the world – a restoration of America, a correction to George W. Bush’s strategy, a hope that things can change, a sense that the world is righting itself.
The opportunity we have in this coming election is unique. Which is something we can too easily forget.