It was only a few days ago that Tucker Carlson of Fox News reported on Italy’s new prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, the conservative populist choice, who overwhelmingly won her country’s election after campaigning on the familiar and valued principles of “faith, family and country.”
On his show, Carlson said Meloni “resolutely failed to bow down to the twin gods of climate and mass migration.”
Although Italian citizens were admonished to not cast their vote for Meloni, they seemed to turn a deaf ear to this after seeing the direction taken by Mario Draghi – Italy’s prime minister who, in 2015, said that his political ideas belong to liberal socialism. Since then, Italy has suffered from an ever-growing crime problem, perpetrated by migrants, exorbitant energy prices and support for a war in Ukraine with which many don’t agree.
So, given the enthusiastic victory Meloni pulled off, taking majorities in both Houses of Parliament, those opposing Meloni wasted no time in doing their best to smear her, comparing her to the fascist dictator of the 1930s, Benito Mussolini. Labeling her a right-wing extremist heading a party of Neo-Nazis, and whatever other denigrating epithets with which they could smear her, she has been globally besmirched. Whether the aim has been to bloody her up before she has a chance to throw her own first punch, that hasn’t stopped her from taking a swing.
In one of her campaign speeches, Meloni unashamedly articulated what she believes to be the reasons that Italy is spiraling downward – in part, having lost its moral compass under the failed liberal leadership of her predecessor.
“Everything we stand for is under attack, our rights are under attack, the sovereignty of our nation is under attack, the education of our children is under attack,” Meloni stated. She prompted her countrymen to preserve who they are, saying this comes only from being conservative.
Closing the speech, Meloni admonished: “They will try to take everything away from us, but they can’t take away who we are. Cherishing who we are, and knowing what we stand for is all we need to face this challenge.”
What’s amazing is that countless clips about this woman, whom most of us had never heard of until she won the election, went viral within record time. In one clip, she spoke in her native Italian, saying that the family, especially, is under attack, because opposing voices would like to erase identity. Meloni said, where they don’t want her to define herself as “Italian,” “Christian,” “woman” and “mother,” those are the characteristics that most identify who she is.
Contrast Meloni’s message to that of the recent incoming U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Jackson, who, when asked to define what a “woman” is, said she is “not a biologist.”
Although the inability in 2022 to categorically recognize and define what a woman is, is a minefield to progressive politicians for fear of “offending” transgenders, Meloni is not ashamed to proudly state she is a woman.
Those attempting to parallel Giorgia Meloni with Mussolini need to go pretty far in order to make their case. Mussolini was no conservative. He was a socialist even before coming a fascist. He preached violent revolution, praised Karl Marx and criticized patriotism, all beliefs which Meloni seems to eschew.
In fact, Mussolini had no problem initiating an insurrection which killed an estimated 2,000 political opponents, nor seizing full power, even declaring martial law. The Italian dictator was anti-church and declared himself an atheist. Finally, it is known that family meant little to him, inasmuch as his infidelity with his infamous mistress was legendary.
Consequently, there are no similarities, on any level, between Meloni and Mussolini, but for those who are not students of history, the scare tactics comparing her to a former ruthless dictator is an effective way of doing damage to a woman who claims that she wants to take back her country, restore sanity and preserve the liberties and freedoms of her citizens.
So, at a time when Italy’s Jewish community is trying to evaluate whether she is the wicked fascist some claim her to be, there is one thing that stands out to them. It is the fact that Meloni supported Israel during the missile attacks of a year ago.
They also remember her visit to the Jewish community during the years in which she served as Minister of Youth in the Italian government; and, to them, a positive relationship exists, which remains strong and unchanging.
There are those who accuse members of Meloni’s “Brothers of Italy” party of not only identifying as fascists but also “celebrating former Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, who established Italian fascism, with fascist and Nazi memorabilia in their regional headquarters.”
To this, Meloni’s response was, “You cannot use fascist symbols and be a member of [her] party.” In fact, the prime minister-elect promised the former president of Rome’s Jewish community that she would ban such individuals from the party.
For now, Meloni is saying all the right things. Her passion comes forth as she unapologetically calls out the troubling issues which are bringing down her nation, as well as reminding her people what made them great.
Perhaps the satirical media outlet Babylon Bee captured it best when it sent out a joke headline stating: “Conservatives disappointed by technicality that says prime minister of Italy cannot also be president of the U.S.”
Giorgia Meloni might end up being a biblical Deborah who saves her country, and, if we’re all lucky enough, she might actually succeed in creating the template that shows other world leaders how to get it right – starting with a healthy respect and love for “faith, family and country.”
A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.