How Right They Are
I’ve been following the French presidential elections, the first round of which kicks off this Sunday. There are ten certified candidates from the Hitlerite right to the Trotskyist left. Since everyone is the self-labeled real item there’s no time wasted on accusations of “socialism,”“fascism,” etc., that occupy so much of our political space. That, to the logical French, would be like denouncing a duck for being a duck.
The leading candidate on the right is Marine Le Pen, the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the gray eminence of the Front National who recalls the Nazi occupation with a certain nostalgia. Though I used the word “Hitlerite” above, that was a trifle unfair. Le Pen fille represents a new generation and has endeavored to move the FN away from its collabo politics of yesteryear and into the contemporary world of European racism.
Interestingly, I found myself watching Marine’s speeches with disgust but also with a yen to learn more about the FN. So I Wikied the FN in English and then checked out their platform in French. From the former came this quote: “Under her leadership, Marine Le Pen has been more clear in her support for protectionism, while she has criticised globalism and capitalism for certain industries. She has been characterized as a proponent of letting the government take care of health care, education, transportation, banking and energy...Le Pen opposed the invasions of Iraq, led by the United States, both in the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq War."
From the FN Programme, i.e., la bouche du cheval, I learned that the party wants
to boost taxes on the rich and on luxury goods. It favors a “strict application of laicite” (secularism) in the schools and the state generally. It proposes government training programs for youth and the jobless. It supports retirement at 60 for workers with strenuous jobs and wants a lower retirement age for mothers of three or more kids. To be sure, the FN shows its fangs with the draconian policies by which it would halt further immigration and torment immigrants already in France.
Are you thinking what I am?
That a French fascist party is well to the left of our Democratic Party on major issues!
That maybe Dems should be wearing little swastikas, or at least the fleur de lis, next to their Obama buttons. That perhaps they should switch their World War II hero worship from Winston Churchill to Marshal Petain?
How did this happen? How did American politics steer so hard to starboard that not only our yahoos, but our 'liberals' as well, line up as ultra-right nut cases in comparison to Christendom’s uber conservatives?
I’ll offer my two cents on that subject with my next blog. Until then, my favorite in Sunday’s balloting is the smart, tough and witty Jean Luc Melenchon, candidate of the Front de Gauche. He provided the campaign with one of its best laughs when he dismissed Socialist candidate Francois Hollande, the Mitt Romney of the French left, as a “pedal boat captain.” And imagine the brouhaha if Romney or Obama ran a campaign ad like this one.