The run-off election for the French Presidency is May 7 and the results will have far reaching repercussions. Sadly, the only two choices are a continuance of the status quo and a return to early twentieth century real politik in Europe.
On the one hand, we have Macron. He graduated from the same universities and rubs shoulders with the same elites who have led France into this downward spiral it currently finds itself in. He is the establishment despite the En Marche sticker and the laughable outsider role he has claimed. He has no new ideas to handle a faltering economy or the increased cost of social programs under whose weight the state is groaning. He supports the EU despite the many poor decisions that body has made. Then there is the increasing Muslim problem highlighted by the shooting of a police officer several days before the election. And even if he wanted change, he has no support in the legislature even should he be elected though the support of all the major parties prove they’ll happily “compromise” with him.
Le Pen is the alternative. A reactionary who wants to pull France from the EU which would cripple any possible further integration of the continent, seal the borders, and rekindle their alliance with Russia. The latter is frightening resurrecting memories of the grand alliances that led to World War I, especially given Russia’s bellicose relationship with the rest of Europe. By pulling out of the EU, that leaves Germany alone to lead the supranational body. The chaos of Europe’s reorganization, especially in this economically trying time will leave it vulnerable to any action taken on it’s borders. Xenophobia is one of her main planks, ominous given one of subordinates is a holocaust denier. They seek to scapegoat illegals and Muslims for the state’s problems, to reasserting France’s image and power abroad, and to likely meddle further in European politics undoing what progress has been made in the last sixty years.
France is in desperate trouble but this is what modern times has brought to the new millennium: ineffective leaders polarizing the electorate as they blame one another for their inaction, state meddling and corruption destroying the middle class, and a lowering of standards that has allowed millions to accept less than they deserve. The anger and rage directed at the center has driven people to the fringes threatening to tear the world apart. And while we fight each other, Russia and China have embarked on expansionary policies that threaten everything we believe in.
Sunday is an important election that will fail to achieve anything positive. We’re slipping backward in Sisiphyian defeat. You see those ruts? Those are from the failure to finish what was started.