France has just elected its youngest president in history by an overwhelming margin. Emmanuel Macron defeated Marine Le Pen with nearly two-thirds of the vote in the presidential runoff, a margin of victory that would make most politicians exceedingly jealous. (Here I must exclude certain autocrats who would surely say, “Only 66%? I win 99% of the vote!”) This has caused many observers, including myself, to breathe a sigh of relief.
While he may be to the left of Bernie Sanders on the political spectrum, Macron is much more in the realm of normality than Le Pen, who many have branded the French version of Donald Trump. Her National Front Party is anti-immigrant, anti-EU, anti-globalization, and pretty much anti- anything that isn’t as French as a baguette wrapped in a croissant. She also seems to be opposed to people wearing religious symbols in the public square and has a worrying lack of policy know-how that became clear at times during the campaign. Continue reading
Paris looked beautiful from the top of Notre Dame Cathedral on November 7, 2008 (author photo)
While the UK is undergoing a protracted exit from the European Union and the US is attempting to come to terms with the ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency, there is another country about to take part in an election of its own: America’s “oldest ally”, the French.
Ah, oui oui! The French hold elections too, and they are just as crazy as the ones in this part of the world, if not more so…but then again, we are talking about the French. Now, you may be thinking, “Why should I care about the French election?” (A question the French will never ask with regard to the United States.) I take your question, and I shall answer it. Continue reading
French actress Julie Gayet, the latest object of President Hollande’s affection, is shown here at the 2007 Deauville American Film Festival. Wikipedia photo by Mireille Ampilhac
Today I am going to write about something taking place in France. Have I lost you already? I only ask because I know that many Americans are either thoroughly apathique or completely hostile when it comes to our French collègues. I’ve heard the usual complaints: they live in a nanny state, they don’t believe in working, they hate Américains, they are complete cowards in all their military campagnes, and they have a preference for the kind of cheese that looks like a science experiment gone wrong.
Perhaps the thought of reading an entire article about France fills you with disgust. Perhaps you are still unwilling to give the French credit for “freedom fries” more than a decade after the fact. (There is actually an ongoing dispute about whether deep fried potato strips originated in France or modern day Belgium.) Perhaps you think that the term “Francophile” is synonymous with “socialist”.
Allow me to reassure you by insisting that this is not really a French story at all: it is an age old tale about a politician caught in a sex scandal, full of the kind of details that are sure to reinforce your cynicism, while at the same time making you feel superior to other members of the human race. Are you interested now? I hope so, because that is about the best sales pitch I can give. Continue reading
Current French President Francois Hollande at a Socialist Party rally back in 2011. Flickr photo by the Socialist Party (Parti socialiste)
I’m just going to come right out and say it: the President is a socialist.
While some of us may wish to avoid talking about it, facts are facts. The President’s policy positions, his background, and most of all his own affirmative statements prove beyond a doubt that the land which once fought so hard for liberty is now being governed by a socialist. Sacré bleu! Continue reading