I was born in 1993, a year before now world-famous Silvio Berlusconi began his political career with his Forza Italia party. To this moment, no member of my generation has seen a lasting government which doesn’t have any connection to either Mr Berlusconi or his affiliates.
We are the Berlusconi Generation, children born in an era where the same men always controlled the country: there have been small lapses of time where different political party won the election, but none of them lasted to the official date of the following elections, losing consent in Parliament hence losing the seat. We have been taught a form of yielding power based on corruption, fraud and carelessness.
Silvio Berlusconi handed in his resignation three years after he took office: to this day, his fourth mandate is the second longest government to ever be formed in Italy since the Republic was born in 1946.
Although it is hard for me to understand how someone could possibly trust such a man- I’ll admit to having being raised into a family who never showed much love for the “charming” entrepreneur running for office- through the years I’ve asked some friends who shared his political views to explain to me why would they put their country in his hands. They told me it was because he used to run a company, therefore he must have known the ups and downs of handling the fate of an unlucky country such as Italy.
Yes, Italians are the first one to admit that we’ve never been politically smart when picking someone to represent us. We did, after all, renounce the monarchy after our caring king handed the government to Benito Mussolini and then, once the Second World War finished, started voting for members of the same party for well over thirty years expecting for things to change.
To this day, it doesn’t surprise me seeing that two of Berlusconi’s cabinets hold the top two spots for lasting legislatures followed by the one headed by Bettino Craxi during the 1980s. The same Mr Craxi who acted as political mentor to Berlusconi before he began his rise to political power. The very same man who, in 1984, emanated not one but three decrees in favour of his protege.
Last June, Mr Berlusconi was found guilty of child prostitution and abuse of office, he was sentenced to seven years and banned from public office by the Court of Milan. In August, he was once again sentenced to four years -three of which covered by pardon- for tax fraud.
I might be biased but I don’t see how someone charged, and convicted, with crimes such as these could be seen as fit to run for office once again in 2015. And yet there’s still some hopeful soul who believes this is the man who will make everything better.
The thing is, or I least I believe it to be, we still think someone could be out there to look out for us. Maybe someone will one day stand up for the people and do what’s best for them, forgetting about personal gain.
But after twenty years of political agenda as evidence of misplaced trust we might want to start looking somewhere else.