The news came last Sunday, May 7: Emmanuel Macron, Center Party candidate, became French President of the Republic in 2017.
Opposing him was extreme-right candidate Marine Le Pen from the Front National, whose family is famous for its racist views.
Daughter of a man who qualifies as the most racist guy in France, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine Le Pen followed her father’s path in the Front National with the same political agenda, primarily the closing of borders, deportation of immigrants and to get out of the EU and reinstate Francs as the national currency.
Since I started SCAD three years ago, I haven’t been in France for more than four months a year. I haven’t been following every political game since I left. In fact I haven’t kept up at all.
Most French are tired of politics, tired of beautiful and unrealistic promises and traumatized by past presidents. Fear caused many to trust in Le Pen’s program. As history showed us, when poverty and fear rise in a country, people tend to vote for the party that seemed like it would change everything.
You know the drill. You know how Trump’s supporters can be: incredibly racist, misogynist, very conservative and sometimes violent. Unfortunately, French supporters of the Front National aren’t different. I remember when I was younger, how the Front National running for president wasn’t even considered a possibility. Every four years they tried, but never made it to the second turn.
As with Trump, I believe Le Pen wasn’t as racist as her supporters.
Now France isn’t famous for being the most tolerant country in the world. After numerous terrorist attacks, it hasn’t improved the open-mindedness of many French. We all remember that stupid law about the burqa in Southern France.
The question you might want to ask: is Macron better?
I won’t lie. I have no idea what Macron’s plan is. I have no idea what he promised to the French people.
All I know is: he isn’t Le Pen.
I am not proud of myself. In my defense, the election started March 20, 2017, right during the SCAD quarter. But I still knew more about her programs, and what her supporters believed in.
To their eyes, if you didn’t look French (white skin, French name), you were not French.
To their eyes, abortion clinics, immigrants, Non-Catholic religions and journalists—among many other things—are not French.
There were countless times supporters or direct collaborators of Le Pen were caught on camera being violent or openly racist. And let’s not even talk about her father still going to the Rivarol banquet, which is an openly racist and Holocaust-denying event.
Overall I am very happy she didn’t win. 60% of the French population voted for Macron, and 30% for Le Pen. The rise of the far-right party made many people afraid—including me—and I don’t think I am mistaken in saying we all thought Le Pen was going to have a higher score. But she didn’t. I am happy to see 60% of French people do not believe in her vision of France. France made the right choice and maybe made the world a little bit more hopeful.
Anyway guys: Vive La France!