You go anywhere in the world today and you hear people talking & asking about Trump vs. Hillary. Italy was no exception. The TV coverage seemed more focused on Trump than on local Italian issues. So we decided to ask people ourselves. The best place to do that was on the water shuttle from our hotel in Venice to the pier at San Marco near the entrance of the Grand Canal. The ride took 30 minutes each way and so we could ask & talk at leisure.
The first couple we spoke with were from Westchester, NY. The wife was originally from Czechoslovakia. Both were surprisingly fervent supporters of Trump. The next man we spoke with was a businessman in the lighting business from Dallas, TX. He was not a fan of Trump and thought Rick Perry was weak. He liked Ted Cruz and his support for Trump depended on the VP choice.
The next day we met a couple from Northern California. The man was blunt & called Trump a “jerk”. But he hated Hillary Clinton more fiercely and so he would close his nose & vote for Trump. Another couple from Dallas were intensely for Trump. But a lady from Oregon was totally against Trump. She said she was a life long Democrat & would never vote Republican. But she wasn’t moved in any way by Hillary.
Then we had the conversation of our trip. A nicely dressed elderly European couple from Bordeaux in France but now residents of London. The lady was classically French, modern French in her opinion. She said they had a house outside Boston and visited there once a year. Her husband had retired from a major multinational accounting firm and now served as vice chairman of an investing firm in London, she said. She felt she was a cultured cosmopolitan woman who could talk smartly about luxury hotels around the world with rich friends who were all cultured & cosmopolitan like her. Her first comment to us was that there were too many Americans at that wonderfully classic Venetian hotel. But even that she said in a sort of French charming way.
But that charm disappeared the moment we asked her about Trump. She called him a foul-mouth jerk that Americans should be ashamed of. She called Americans who supported him as typical uneducated people who didn’t know anything. She dismissed Marine Le Pen as an aberration and said the French were too cultured to have anything to do with her. She loved living in London & though the British to be so well-educated & cultured. They would never go ahead with Brexit, she said.
When asked about the appeal of Trump for hurting industrial workers in the Midwest, she actually called them “low-life” Americans who shouldn’t even be allowed to vote. The only thing she didn’t say was “let them eat cake”. She did point out how the British control their own uneducated segments & wondered why America couldn’t do that.
At this point, we asked about how the French were dealing with the Germans inside the EU. She actually said EU is doing well and the Germans & French were the best of friends. When we responded with a politely sarcastic “really”, she said “Americans” in that classically dismissive French manner and went below to join her husband.
It was actually a lot of fun to watch her veneer slowly disintegrate as her inner emotions came to the fore. Just goes to show that the more things change, the basics remain the same.
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