The role of expectation in life
September 2013, Milan
On my last visit here, there was an air of hope and excitement around – in December last year, everyone was talking about the upcoming parliamentary elections; huge political ads were adorning the “grandi palazzi” as much as Christmas garlands were. Piazza Loreto – an emblem of both religious and historic significance, as the venue most famous for the public display of Mussolini’s corpse takes its name from an old sanctuary of Our Lady of Loreto in Ancona province – looked like the birthday cake for a king. It was almost as if it was hoping to make history again, as everyone believed the democratic left finally had a real chance of defeating Berlusconi’s right.
But February came and no political group had won an outright majority, resulting in a hung parliament. After a long period of negotiations everyone was relieved when a coalition was finally formed between Centre-left, Centre, and Centre-right. I was amazed at the sense of expectation everyone seemed to have from such a hodgepodge coalition, but I hoped for them and for myself, that at least some of the newly acquired trust would not be disappointed. By September it became clear that even that shred of hope had been overly idealistic. The sparkle had gone from people’s eyes and disappointed gestures had taken the place of high beat dialogue when it came to politics.