Duty, Honor, Ambition


A love of politics, rare in most countries, is common in America. It is a political project, after all, and not an organic human community that resonates to the same poetry and which acquired a state bit by bit along the way many centuries ago. In such normal countries, individuals become politicians because the profession is more interesting than accounting, requires no specific skill as with shoe-making, for example, and is often well-paid: Italian senators for example receive (earn is the wrong word) the equivalent of $223,683.46 per year because the euro is low right now. But that is still much more than the $174,000 for U.S. senators, and, moreover, Italy with a quarter of the U.S. population offers 321 senatorial seats as opposed to the mere 100 in the United States, with 630 more seats to fill in the lower chamber as opposed to the 435 House members, with more seats in regional assemblies and city councils. In other words, there are lots of jobs for the boys, many more than in the United States. And executive branch officials do even better across Europe, earning more than the measly $221,400 of the U.S. secretary of defense. And that too counts but little for the average minister whose relentless devotion to public service is very often rewarded before retirement.
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