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President of the Italian Republic 2022: between past and future

Stories and News No. 1253

On January 24th, the consultations for the election of the thirteenth head of state in our country will begin.
I am not saying anything new when I say that in every important decision that awaits us – when a considerable number of people depend on it and that its multiple consequences will have lasting, vast and partly unpredictable repercussions – it is very useful to take note of all kinds of the past
For this reason, reflecting on the twelve last presidents, including the outgoing Sergio Mattarella, can help us to be more aware and at the same time to gain a far-sighted vision of the choice’s scope on the horizon.
I am convinced that making this little trip together will allow us to better understand if the name that will come out will be the right one or less.
Obviously, since this is my natural element, ours will be a journey of words, between the past and the future.
So once upon a time the 1948, the year of the two presidents; the beginner, the shortest one, and the second, the first to be elected by Parliament.
I am comforted by the thought, Enrico De Nicola reassured us, that through the most disparate political conceptions and the most lively dissensions of intentions and ideas, no one will ever be able to forget, above all competitions and beyond any disagreement, the sentiment of mutual respect. While, only four months later, his successor Luigi Einaudi had the honesty to declare that it is true that we in the North have contributed something less and profited from the expenses made by the Italian State after the conquest of unity and national independence. We sinned with selfishness when the north succeeded in surrounding the territory with a strong customs barrier and thus assuring its industries the monopoly of the southern market, with the consequence of impoverishing agriculture, the only industry in the South; it is true that we have moved a lot of wealth from the South to the North with the sale of the ecclesiastical axis and the state property and with public loans.
Once upon a time the 1955, when Giovanni Gronchi, the third leader of a country who was finally beginning to see some light outside the macabre tunnel of war and above all the fascism, reminded that democracy is not just coexistence and free development of political forces, but it is above all a custom, through which the discussion will not be brawl, or exchange of invectives, or will to oppress, but will instead be open, clear, conscious effort of convergence - even in the divergence of ideas - towards a higher purpose, which is to serve our country.
Then there was once upon a time the 1962 when, albeit after a frenzied series of ballots, the new president Antonio Segni stressed that a program cannot be evaluated for the particular solutions, but for the principles that inspire it, in the evaluation of the supreme interests of country.
Once upon a time, only two years later, the 1964 of Giuseppe Saragat, who obtained the presidency after an exhausting confrontation between the voters, and is also remembered for salacious but well-founded phrases: Italians earn net, but live gross.
Once upon a time, then, the 1971, from the revolution of the flowers to the involution of the bullets, when the president of all was called Giovanni Leone, whose warning is still relevant today, when he said that it is not enough to send your children to school, you have to accompany them on the path of studies, you have to build day by day in them the awareness that you go to school not to win a title, but to prepare for life.
Once upon a time the 1982, the year of the most beloved of all, the true hero of the World Cup in Spain, Pablito and all the Azzurri should not be annoyed by that, the other gentleman with a pipe on the victorious plane, Sandro Pertini, that said many important things, but among all I remember when he invited citizens to always fight for freedom, for peace, for social justice, because freedom without social justice is nothing but a fragile conquest, which is resolved for many in the freedom to starve.
Once upon a time, in succession, the 1985 of Francesco Cossiga, the president with a controversial past and an ambiguous present, but also capable of describing in a synthetic and lucid way our nation, an "unfinished" country, from the incomplete Risorgimento, the mutilated Victory, the betrayed Resistance, the inactivated Constitution, the incomplete democracy.
Once upon a time the 1992, when the story of Oscar Luigi Scalfaro began, who described in an exemplary way the meaning of his duties, explaining that the task of the Chief of the State is to ensure compliance with the Constitution on which it has sworn. To defend it at all costs, without looking anyone in the face. Between the thief and the carabiniere one cannot be equidistant: if someone says he is, it means that he has already decided to stay with the thief.
Once upon a time, again seven years later, the 1999 by Carlo Azeglio Ciampi who, on the eve of the third millennium, touching on a topic that is still very relevant today everywhere, reaffirmed that there is no democracy without pluralism and impartiality of information.
Once upon a time the 2006, the year in which the longest-running of the presidencies began, Giorgio Napolitano’s, who, despite the contradictions, found himself underlining that nationalism and protectionism are mortal enemies of liberal democracy and reformism.
Once upon a time the 2015, the time of the current and next outgoing president, Sergio Mattarella, of whom some would like to extend the mandate, while others want to put their clutches on the supreme chair, who, addressing young people and old ones, said that the former drift away and lose confidence because politics often dries up. It loses the link with its goals or loses the courage to point them out clearly. Politics loses its meaning if it is not oriented towards great objectives for humanity, if it is not oriented towards justice, peace, the fight against exclusions and inequalities.
So, once upon a time today, 2022, the year in which - as it was in every day that preceded it and so it will be during each sunrise that we will have the good fortune to see - we have the duty to preserve and take into account the good of the past and send the best of the present into the future.
Maybe in the hands of a woman, I think the time is come long ago.

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