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The Dude goes into politics! - The Dude's Plan!

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Part 2 - The road to the Elections!

So, why did I decide to do this crazy thing? Because I love the place where I live, as simple as that. But it's not really just that: I hate to see good opportunities to be wasted... as I mentioned in Part 1, the touristic potential of my municipality is simply huge, but it has been badly, if at all, exploited so far. I've traveled around the world for many years, and I've seen much "worse" places which have been promoted and enhanced to the point that they have become worldwide renown places, so I asked myself: "Why can't we do the same?".
You might think that this a rhetoric question, but it isn't so, unfortunately. It would need a book to explain the very much Italian concept of parochialism (in Italian we call it campanilismo, from the word campanile - bell tower, used to indicate the fact that each small aggregate of people had a church with which they identificated); in simple words: your neighbor is your worst enemy.
As a matter of fact our people is much divided, and this thing is as old as history in my country (dividi et impera), and it's extremely difficult to convince people to cooperate, in particular when they have to do so with their hated neighbor... everybody is looking at their own garden and does not see the greater picture, they are blinded in front of the benefits of a common effort to reach a specific goal.

Yes I know, it sounds creepy to talk about your own people like that (we certainly have many other virtues that balance this flaw), but it's undeniable that we are not good cooperators and that we need to be led by a strong character in order to be convinced in "doing something together". This is particularly true in small villages, where this habit was never abandoned and where people are used to compete in "things" rather than in "deeds". One might wonder that this is an excessively pessimistic view, but my experience taught me that people is very seldom interested in joining a cause, no matter how good it is, if they are not going to get something in return. There are of course tricks and strategies to bypass this habit, the first being putting the screws on their pride... from a certain point of view, pride is a very individual feeling, and even if something has been achieved in cooperation, people tend to see it as personal success. This is where my sneaky plans starts from...

I've spent too much words to introduce the general situation, so I'll be straight now: we have a lot of potential that is wasted because of division and personal grudges, so the only way to push people to cooperate for the common goal of turning our place into a fully developed touristic place that will allow everybody to earn a living, is to exploit their pride. Luckily, we have some local stuff (two natural monuments, one natural reserve, two religious monuments) which people are pride of, but that they never really exploited because they never really see them as a potential source of business.
It's difficult to change the mentality: it's a matter of time, giving the good example, using the right words to stimulate the interest and, most important, being consistent. When I spoke with people, I did tell them that I was not going to go for shortcuts, but that my intent was to work on long-term projects, aimed at turning our place in a modern, appealing and profitable touristic area, for the benefit of everybody, and in particular of the new generations... taking into the account what I said above, it's easy to guess that not everybody was sensible to my ideas, but my personal results in terms of votes shows indeed that at the least someone believes in my dream and that I'm not alone in this fight...

I've used the word "dream" on purpose: I'm not ingenuous, I know well that it will takes years and a lot of pain to see even few results, but this is the kind of battle that is worth fighting, in particular for the good of the new generations.. most of my "supporters" are indeed people like me, middle-aged parents with less or more grown children, who know well the struggles of modern times and who dream for an easier and better life for their kids in the place we all love. My concrete goal is to find money and state support for some important projects, as outlined below:

- the most known place in my area is a huge water spring (more than 5 m3 per second, one of the biggest in Europe) that has a very nice park attached to it (the picture above offers a glimpse of it) and that has been promoted into Natural Monument few years ago; it's very popular all the year long because of the nice looking environment, though of course in summer is crowded with people looking for a cool place to have a pick nick. There's a lot to do in terms of maintenance and improving the park, not to talk about advertisement and other "annexes" (like a parking for Campers with all the needed accessories, a brand new barbecue/camping area, etc).

- another renown place is both a Religious and a Natural Moment (the latter was recognized only few weeks ago); it's a centuries-old beech tree which is connected to the history and legend of San Francesco d'Assisi (very popular in Italy). It's a very evocative and charming place, high up in the mountains, but because of that it's rather deserted in winter and getting to it isn't so easy. The idea is to improve the area as a whole (like by adding a source of potable water and some form of protection from weather), improve the maintenance of the dirt road getting to it, make it easier to be found, AD stuff of course and so on and on..

- our mountains in themselves are very attractive and they still have some tourism related to both religion and hiking; what we need to do, again, is to improve maintenance and signage as well; there would be a lot to do in terms of creating extra attractions (ATVs or Trials renting, horse-riding, organized excursions, toilets, etc) and the usual advertisement.

- in general there are plenty of small secondary attractions (old and typical churches, an "alchemical door", the ruins of a middle age castle, etc) which could benefit from restoration and general improvement in AD, though of course they will certainly become more popular in themselves once the touristic traffic has been increased because of the other major attractions.

I think you got the point, tourism is the key for me; on papers, the potential is huge as I said, but there are hard facts to deal with, and it's much complex and difficult to find the resources and the opportunities to develop those projects, as I'm learning now day after day and as you will soon see yourself in the next chapter, The Grim Reality...

Updated September 11, 2019 at 06:23 AM by Flinn

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  1. Flinn's Avatar
    I've just posted Chapter 4 - The Grim Reality.
    I hope you'll enjoy the reading!