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...and still democracy is the best form of government we have.

Mr. Berlusconi during one of his accesses of rage

I see all World televisions and newspapers have accounted with plenty of details mr.Berlusconi's madness in trying to condition until the last moment the Italian Government action and very existence. People more competent than me have already highlighted the baleful consequences for Europe and the World of actions dictated by desperation coupled to an almost total lack of sense of measure, respect, moral stature, nobility of heart and sense of personal honor.

I'll not mention, too, how he was definitely convicted for fiscal fraud - a very heavy crime, especially offensive in times of restraints.

No: I mention another side of the story. Mr. Berlusconi has been elected with votes of many Italians. Of these, my feeling is that most, especially in the beginning, did believe his promise to begin a liberal revolution (much awaited).

Mr.Berlusconi is a product of democracy. He betrayed the ideals he used to win elections, and still was able to be re-elected with massive doses of demagogy - and willingness by many people to believe his fascinating fairy tales while Italy was declining. Does his pathology mean democracy is a sick practice?

I say "No", with all voice I have.

Democracy is a continuous learning process. Sometimes we need to knock our head against some door jamb. But in the long term, the resulting pain makes us more clever and selective.

Also, less prone to self-illude with alibis. Bad politicians have been the excuse to continue indulging in bad politics, on all sides.

But looking towards future, and letting the past to rot as time destines it to do, I realize with amazement that we have not yet imagined how democracy could become, and might be practiced.

I'm not saying of institutional forms (although the ones in use in Italy may need more than a review). What more interests me is our souls, habits, expectations.

Why, for example, should we expect all solutions to our problem will come from the next all-powerful Strong and Wise Man? The possible renaissance I foresee may well pass through a different kind of leadership, less similar to dogs' alfa-beta-gamma-... hierarchies, and more shared. Any woman, any man, have their unique experiences and skills. Instead of just following, each one could for their little while take the lead. Leading and following are not mutually exclusive - unless we imagine them to be.

What role for politicians? I imagine, an essential one: not of the Dividers they have been until today. Rather, the Ones Who Unite. Politics and policymaking, in a democracy, would better be aimed at envisioning and building viable futures, at constructing syntheses, at channeling the inevitably diverging individual interests towards a shared, superior end. This is a difficult task, one demanding politicians to forget themselves and their petty interests, and place themselves in service of future generations.

And why not an Adel? A "nobility", not by wealth or birth, but by knowledge and opportunity? Building and maintaining a community (one small as a family or large as a nation, it's really the same) is not only governing and commanding. It's also listening, using intelligence, composing conflicts, and these activities all demand experience, empathy, technical skill, and a deep awareness all we "own" today has been gifted us by those who preceded our paths. To have, in my view, is an obligation to give - love flows naturally from one generation to the next.

Culture. We're realizing it is not a luxury, nor a commodity. It's a good whose value cannot be measured by the scale of money, and which can not be placed into a glass box for preservation: it thrives only if continuously created and diffused. It is culture, not richness, to make a nation people's worth.

We'll discover democracy demands courage, responsibility, and compassion. An understanding of how things really are. An ability to say "yes" when yes is needed, and "no" otherwise. That gray shades are sometimes necessary, but most often than not just attempts to postpone choices hoping "time will solve".

I could continue with many other "obvious" things. But please, consider that things you may find natural were not what we practiced with stubborn determination until today. For us, the meaning of "citizenship" is a recent discovery. I "could", but will not. I know you could yourself add plenty more.

Rather, I close with a statement of fact, once again "obvious". Renaissances are possible.

Love - and hope.



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