After Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) party won a plurality of the vote in Italy’s national election last Sunday, I started hearing the word “fascist.” To be fair, it was usually preceded by the prefix “neo,” distinguishing the new Prime Minister’s party from the Mussolini-era original. 

But there was no mistaking the implication, almost universally from the left of the American political spectrum: this woman was a threat to democracy. And it wasn’t just a phenomenon in the US. Many of the western powers echoed the same worries and preoccupations, suggesting that the first female leader of the modern Italian state was an attractive, well-dressed despot.

And I immediately thought of the reluctance of Democrats to acknowledge their own original sin: racism. Back when my father went down south to Mississippi in 1967 to register African Americans to vote and run for local political office, he had many run-ins with the good old boys and girls. He also had a very scary near miss with the Ku Klux Klan on a dark road at night. And the odds being what they were, virtually all of these menacing folk were Democrats. 

READ MORE — Christine Flowers: Duke supports bigotry yet again

And who could forget Robert Byrd of West Virginia, a low-level Wizard in his own KKK coven, Strom Thurmond, who spent the first two decades of his long and controversial career in office as “not the Republican,” and George Wallace who proudly barred young black children from the schoolhouse. Wallace, who ended up in a wheelchair for his troubles, was also not a Republican.

When I suggested that equity demanded that if Giorgia Meloni is tagged with the “fascist” label we would also have to remind everyone that racism began with the Democrats, my social media interlocutors were triggered. One after the other tried to distance themselves from the sins of their fathers, pointing out that each one of the aforementioned segregationists later “repented.” Interestingly, though, they still insisted that Meloni was a fascist and that praising her in any way was a sign that I, too, was a fascist.

In one amusing exchange, a random woman from Canada told me that I needed to read up on my own history, because “didn’t I know” that the Republicans were the racists, period? I admit, sheepishly, that I made some snarky comments about the gravitas and historical acumen of Canadians, and abandoned the conversation before I said something that would get me barred from Twitter (I had already been suspended from Facebook the day before and was a bit skittish.)

The point of this is to explain how hypocritical we are in this country when it comes to conservatives, and in particular, conservative women. Not only is Giorgia Meloni the first female Prime Minister in the history of the modern Italian Republic, she is also one of the very rare right-of-center leaders. In fact, she is the most conservative person to hold this highest of political positions in my mother’s ancestral country.

I admit to being very proud that a woman who shares many of my political and philosophical views is situated to play such a large role on the international stage. With the sole exception of immigration, on which we have a disagreement that derives from my own experiences dealing with refugees, I admire her words and her policies. 

In a clip that has gone viral, and that I am happy to understand in the original Italian and not have to rely on some suspect translation, Giorgia Meloni talks about the importance of family, of faith, of country and of national identity. She has a delivery that is very full-throated and passionate, and it does tend to recall the histrionics of Mussolini. Then again, that has more to do with her Italian heritage than with any affinity for the dictator’s principles. In Meloni, I see the engagement and enthusiasm of many of the Italian women I knew growing up, all of whom cherished democracy, family, faith and their country. In fact, I learned patriotism from women who were one generation removed from being foreigners.

Giorgia Meloni is an exceptional woman with exceptional talents, and deserves to be given time to make her own mistakes and, more likely, win her own political and diplomatic victories.

Meloni is pro-life. She is unapologetically Catholic. She believes in a national identity which derives from the deep vein of culture, civics, history and philosophy that defines one of the great ancient civilizations. She is unashamed to say that “pronouns” don’t matter, that gender is not an artificial construct, that unborn life deserves respect, that borders are important, and that God is relevant and has a place in the public square.

For this, she has been vilified in the most nuanced ways by those who “suspect” her of dangerous affiliations and ideas. The talking heads have already tried to pigeon hole her as they did with Amy Coney Barrett, another accomplished pro-life Catholic woman who loved family, faith and country. And this time, they aren’t afraid of displaying their particular brand of ethnic bigotry: if she’s Italian, and from the right, she must be a fascist.

It’s predictable, but nonetheless a sad example of the way the American left operates today.

We don’t yet know how Giorgia Meloni will deal with the United States and what impact her tenure will have on an Italo-American relationship which has historically been very strong. We do know that our own president, Joe Biden, has expressed some trepidation at her election.

But what I do know is that Giorgia Meloni is an exceptional woman with exceptional talents, and deserves to be given time to make her own mistakes and, more likely, win her own political and diplomatic victories.

And she won’t be doing it in the shadow of Mussolini, just as today’s Democrats would be loath to have the albatross of the Dixiecrats hanging around their collective necks.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61

10 thoughts on “Christine Flowers: Italy’s new prime minister deserves better than vilification by the Left”

  1. I never knew a Catholic who chose to have children out of wedlock and live with their hot Italian boyfriend but not marry them. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with that – but that’s not what typical Catholics do. Giorgia Meloni’s hunky boyfriend is as liberal as Justin Trudeau and she doesn’t try to change him, and he doesn’t try to change her. I’m pleased she sides with Ukraine over Russia. She said she will not ban abortion. Therefore, she’s not as bad as US male politicians in our country. She’s tough on Immigration, but I have no problem with that in Europe. Italy never claimed to be a melting pot and they should keep their culture and language. Our country is different. We are a melting pot and a nation of immigrants.

  2. I mean all you have to do is spend 1 minute doing research (evidently more than this author did) to see that it’s not a “label” that Democrats are applying to her, it’s an identification her right-wing organizations openly adopt themselves. First she was a member of the “Italian Social Movement” formed in 1946 by supporters of the former dictator Benito Mussolini, most of whom took part in the experience of the Italian Social Republic and the Republican Fascist Party. She is and has been for decades a member of organizations that literally DESCRIBE THEMSELVES as neo/post-fascist. This article minds me of a German comedy sketch where a swastika wearing Nazi soldier in WWII acts offended that he’s being called a Nazi.

    Meanwhile the right seems to have no problem at all saying that anyone and everyone who rejects their party’s conspiracy theories is a confirmed “communist” or “Marxist”. This is why nobody takes the right seriously anymore.

    And the fact that the only whataboutisms the author can dig up to deflect from the reality of 2022 have ALL dead for decades says all we need to know about that. When Strom Thurmond came to power Harry Truman was president lol! Any of the fine folks waving swastika and wearing kkk hoods at the Unite the RIGHT rally holding signs for Democrats? Because I saw quite a few Trump flags in there.

  3. Meloni asked why is the family hated? Who would be threatened by the thought of a family? Because the family is our identity. A woman is no longer a woman or a mother or a wife or a daughter. Once we are reduced to ciphers we can be manipulated by materialists. Spot on. Thank you my friend, as always, for your very well researched articles.

  4. You’re absolutely correct that the problem the radical regressive right has with Meloni isn’t the fact that for decades she’s belonged to an organization literally started by Mussolini’s closest allies in 1946. And it’s not the fact that these groups describe themselves as post-facist. The problem the “America First” right has is that, unlike them, she DOESN’T think foreign dictators should boss us around by telling us who we are and aren’t allowed to be in alliances with. Gotta wonder: if the right wants to let Putin bully us into adopting his policy towards Ukraine, what else can foreign adversaries get us to do? Can Communist China boss us into not being allied with Taiwan? Should we let Iran tell us whether or not we’re allowed to be friends with Israel?

    Btw, our aid to Ukraine is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of the endless GOP started “war on terror”. And don’t forget that that tax-payer supported disaster was opposed only by the non-corporate Left which led the right to mount vicious attacks against them.

  5. The Democrats aren’t targeting black people. It’s the MAGA’s that are waving the Confederate. They dragged the Confederate flag through the Capitol Building during Trump’s Capitol Riot. Doug Mastriano enjoys dressing up as the Confederate soldiers he admires. Donald Trump is calling Chinese Americans “Coco Chow” and putting a target on Mitch McConnell’s back. He banned Muslims from entering the country. So far, Giorgia Meloni doesn’t seem crazy to me like Donald Trump and those who still support him are.

  6. Democrats have hateful labels for anyone that sees the world differently than they do. Right wing, fascists, Nazi, transphobic, homophobic, bible thumpers, cultist. I’m sure there are more but you get the gist. Even Biden insulted the new prime minister, I’m sure the squad insisted he do it. Meanwhile the democrats have destroyed everything good in this country. From culture, to history, to family, to Motherhood, to the economy. Our constitution, our founding Fathers all drug through their Marxist mud. I wish Giorgia Meloni, all the wisdom and protection God can give her. She is going to need it with the dark forces that will only seek to destroy her.

  7. Christine shows her hand immediately. Anyone who is still harping on the trope that “Democrats were the KKK” either doesn’t understand history or is intentionally perpetuating a completely misleading narrative. Yes. the southern “Dixiecrats” were racists. They have no connection to the Democratic party of today. Why? Because they were radical CONSERVATIVES. It was the centrists and liberals of the Democratic party as well as moderate Republicans who passed the Civil Rights bill. Chirstine, like many of todays QMAGAs has the need / desire to paint anyone who isn’t an authoritarian as a communist devil And yes. She actually believes in demons and devils. Meloni may not be a full blooded fascist. Time will tell. But she is certainly fascist adjacent and Italy and the rest of the world is right to be concerned. But because there is no doubt that she is far-Right, Christine is automatically on her side. Shameful.

    1. “Facist adjacent”? My, how progressives and the left just love to contort the language to create newspeak in order to creat paradigms and arguments capable of sopporting and propelling their subversive agenda. Who is attacking Signora Melloni? People who are authentically disingenous, spiteful and willing to fashion a new paradigm at any cost. Even at the cost of destroying right of center attempts to strengthen family, civic virtue and reestablish a more universal respect for life itself.

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