One of the most interesting blogs in the last times I was living in Rome was “Roma fa schifo” (Rome sucks). Its mission is to highlight examples of degrade in public spaces without a clear political affiliation, at least at a first appearance. Rome to me really sucks and my point in this post is that people from Rome deserve it. Culture is the main cause: there is a widespread cognitive incapacity to grasp the importance of the “law whenever it doesn’t touch one’s contingent interest” (rights in contraposition to law, or general norma agendi). I consider to this regard this, sociologically speaking “lack of civicness”, a distinctive trait of Italian people. Rome, to this regard, is a cultural average in its geographical middle position. Maybe in the south it is even worse, maybe in the north it is a little better, but – believe me – Italians are all the same at any latitude.
I have already expressed my fears of Marino being pushed down the Tarpean Cliff by its own citizens, but in the last hours it looks that all is falling down. For the persons who may read these few sentences, I would like to summarize what Marino did:
- He showed to be “the alien”, a person totally external to the sticky smelly messy corruption that the previous post-fascist mayor did. Official trials unveils possibly a “new Roman mafia”. People to large extent don’t like the alien, especially if the alien is going to touch the system. Italian, quoting Ennio Flaiano, love green-skin Martians. They would welcome him saying “Hey, a Martian!” and a few seconds later they would continue to do the same like nothing happened. Rome is told to be “an open city”. I realized that it is more anarchical than open-minded or liberal.
- He not just ended the waste financial disaster, he implemented new systems, although actually things were changing even before (i.e. the compulsory recycling of food domestic waste). People hated and made prank of him.
- He made the road to the Colosseo pedestrian, forever. This is so cool as completely unpopular. People say that when Marino says that he wants all the citizens to be allowed to visit the Colosseo as Mr. Obama did, Marino unveils his idiot inner soul. Sure… this people argue that to be able to pass from the Colosseo by car is good to lessen the traffic jam for the whole city. This argument is comic.
- He showed honesty (something I frankly never believe totally in) and as a result people labeled him as the “honest but ineffective”
- He started to be persecuted by newspapers, especially those funded by the “brick&mortar” industry because he ended any embeddedness to that system. The public opinion minimize this and believe in any allegation he got.
- He cleaned up his own party that was not so much less implied to corruption
- He is quite poor in communication (I love politician who are not good in public speaking!) and he is a target of any possible political accusation. To this regard PM Renzi is playing against him like a cat with a mouse, waiting only to get tired to hit him with the final mortal nail. Public opinion continues to see Renzi as a wicked probe, and Marino as an underdog. The example of him going to Philadelphia, US, to visit the Pope (who later said “I didn’t invite him!”) is unbelievable: how can a person not to realize that people will make laugh of you?!
- His safety is seriously at risk, but public opinion condemn him for spending holidays abroad.
- He made a real, but even insufficient, spending review, doing what exactly “the people” asked in a populist way in the last times: to cut, to cut and to cut any privileges to the political stiff class. Public opinion, by observing that this really was happening, remained uninterested. (I am not surprised: people condemn big inequalities in order to self justify one’s little ones, it’s a cognitive trick. Without the big thief, they feel phased out and can’t believe they couldn’t be any more little thieves. Many people prefer to be robbed of many public money but be allowed to rob few money…)
Like me, many friends of mine have my same position, but – knowing a little about Rome and its inhabitants – I’m afraid we are a minority. Marino looks like those politicians from Sicily who got murdered by mafia because they were against the mafia and at the same time were always a step backward to any threat. It is very sad to see that after many years the Italian public opinion is not so smart in detaching the importance to sustain a person, at least until the next natural election for the authentic and unique Capitol Hill.
For this reason I want to express publicly all my sympathetic vision (and, perhaps, political sympathy if he will be forced to resign) to Mr. Ignazio Marino, the dead-man walking whose beard doesn’t hide his sadness to feel lonely and scorn toward a massive public opinion that – I am sure – he considers as deficient people. Whatever may happen, Marino will remain my last and best Mayor in Rome. After having experienced the hyper-Catholic Rutelli, the radical chic Veltroni and the numb Alemanno, I’ll try to move my Italian address and its political rights to the home town, Florence.