Bastia Creti, Spedalicchio, Italy – It’s tough to find a government that is open these days.
Silvio Berlusconi ordered five ministers from his party to resign from the ruling coalition and, as a result, yet another Italian government might have fallen. Either a new coalition needs to be formed leaving out the Berlusconi party members or an election will be required.
Those are the public options but the more likely outcome is to “forgive him his trespasses” and Berlusconi might permit his party colleagues to … “un-resign.” If this is even possible, the government would then be able to limp along as before.
Most people would get jail time for Berlusconi’s trespasses but he is too old for that. His assets, however, are presumably not old enough to be immune. Best not to waste too much time in search of a public purpose here. There isn’t one.
Another key figure is one Beppo Grillo, a former comedian who now heads the Five Star party. It won quite a number of seats in the currently teetering Parliament. Mr. Grillo is essentially … a clown. He likes attention.
Meanwhile in the capital of the free world, the government has shut down because the President, the Senate and the House can’t agree on even a short-term budget authorization. They like attention. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said of his opponents “they’ve lost their minds.”
Of course the shutdown applies only to the non-essential parts of the government, which mean (a) the things people see or (b) the things that are inconvenient for our elected officials. National parks, the Smithsonian, the NASA website and a Naval Academy soccer game are in group (a) while the Federal Election Commission, which monitors campaign contributions (except that it doesn’t), is in group (b).
There are three basic causes of the US shutdown. All relate to attention getting.
- People with spectacular egos have had fingers thrust in their eyes and they are not accustomed to this. It makes them grumpy.
- Ted Cruz, a former lawyer with a fancy Philadelphia law firm, is running for President by pretending to be a right-winger from Texas. Mr. Cruz, like Mr. Grillo, is a clown.
- Everyone involved – especially those with spectacular egos or clowns, as the case may be – is raising money hand over fist by telling his fans that he is fighting for them. (See Federal Election Commission shutdown above.)
The shutdown will continue until at least one of the three conditions abates or perhaps until nobody is paying attention?
Here on a hilltop in a rural part of Italy, the olive trees are paying no attention to any of it. They have been around for hundreds of years and they appear to know better. When viewed simply as attention getting Senator Reid is wrong. They have not lost their minds. They just don’t care about anyone other than themselves.