If you were wondering whether Italian media has taken an interest in the American presidential election, the answer is yes. Nearly every paper has a section devoted to the U.S. with stories about Obama and McCain, pictures of Palin, and gossip from the Drudge Report and the New York Times.
While watching the American political drama unfold, another issue has claimed the spotlight in Italian news. It has to do with a new law proposed by Burlusconi’s government that will simultaneously attempt to reform and cut the budget of a struggling education system. For weeks, students and teachers in every major Italian city have been protesting the law, hoping that the majority government might think twice about their measures.
The protests culminated yesterday in a massive rally through downtown Rome. During an architecture review in the Cornell Palazzo, we heard shouts from the crowd of thousands streaming past Largo Argentina. After presenting our work, I slipped out with Giuseppe and Travis to see the spectacle. We walked among students to the Ministry of Education where we experienced the demonstration first hand. Below the banners and riot police, everything remained quite calm–aided in no small part by marijuana and rhythmic dance music.
To everyone’s disapointment the protests failed to sway the government. The law passed and all that remains to be seen is how it will be implemented. One hopes for the best.