“America is great because she is good.
If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
Alexis de Tocqueville
“La vérité vaut bien qu’on passe quelques années sans la trouver”
<Truth is more valuable if it takes you a few years to find it>
Truth has an, unfortunate, nasty habit of taking some time to work its way into the minds of people. Sometimes we hear something and kind of know that it sounds like Truth but remain skeptical. That is, of course, until we have gained some proof that what we ‘felt’ was really ‘real.’
I tend to believe many people felt that way about Donald J Trump during the election and as time has progressed that ‘feeling’ is being hardened into a truth.
This is happening not just in America … but globally too. Day by day Trump and his words and his actions hammer nail after nail sealing the truth in people’s minds.
Yesterday Trump put another nail into the populist coffin. Yesterday Emmanuel Macron decisively beat a smarter version of Trump, Le Pen, in the France election.
No one should doubt that Macron winning the France election is another global rejection of Trump. The backlash to a horrible America decision has echoed throughout elections around the world.
Other countries certainly feel the pangs of desire for some change of the status quo … but no other country wants to go about doing so by repeating the mistake America made <or Great Britain’s mistake>.
“This win sends a clear signal that anti-EU populist parties are unable to secure a power base across the political landscape in continental Europe. This started with the presidential elections in Austria in December 2016, with a win by the Pro-European Alexander Van der Bellen, followed by the Dutch elections last March where centrist pro-European parties won the elections.
Now this trend has been echoed in France with a win by Emmanuel Macron, who has been campaigning on a pro-European agenda.”
Michiel de Bruin
To be clear.
Trump has done populism no favors since he has won.
If he had truly delivered upon his promise to be the one to ‘solve the problems of forgotten America’ populists around the world may have met a different fate.
Instead the negative rhetoric tied to lack of measurable activity doomed populist candidates around the world.
As I listened to Macron’s victory speech, given in front of a national cultural icon <The Louvre> and not some gold gilded Trump branded hotel, I heard the words of a leader who understood the future never resides in the past and fear but rather in being united and ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’ <France’s version of “out of many, one” or even ‘stronger together’>.
Macron gave the speech we would actually expect of an American president … not one of fear nor bombastic “I won and you didn’t” but a tone to “calm people’s fears, restore France’s confidence, and gather all of its people together to face the immense challenges that face us in the future”.
It was almost the direct opposite of a Trump speech which tends to be a “join, or else” message to a divided country.
With Macron, a 39 year old, it was a message of hope and of renewed confidence. It contained sober pragmatic thoughts of a message spoken with open eyes and open mind … recognizing that many people did not necessarily vote for him but, rather, against the other … recognizing that many doubted him and his beliefs for France … and recognizing that he was going to have to work to unite a divided France.
We should note that not only did Trump not utter any of those words in victory … he has never uttered those words since.
No one should misunderstand me … populism and nativism still exists and the ideas that have given them a voice, some of which should be heard, are being incorporated into what ‘will be.’ Populism certainly is reshaping policy, interests and the dialogue – in some good ways and in some bad ways.
The truly good ideas which should be heard are stopping policymakers and making them think a little harder.
The bad aspects of populism are making everyone stand up and speak up about what is important from a moral standpoint.
Populism has made life a little harder than it was before but … well … nothing good is easy.
Populism still exists but Trump has done as good a job as anyone to take some air out of its balloon.
I would suggest the France election showcases proof of several things:
Your voice matters. It doesn’t matter of you feel forgotten, if you feel slighted, if you feel angry or even if you feel nothing … your vote, your actions, your words all matter. Everyone truly can make a difference and contribute to the bending of the arc of history.
Hope is more attractive than fear … united is more appealing than divided.
When cornered into having to make a choice people will step away from their fears and step toward hope.
When cornered into having to make a choice people will step away from exclusiveness and step toward inclusiveness.
Notice I didn’t say ‘embrace’ but rather ‘step toward.’
This is a nuance Trump will never understand. But the everyday person does … especially if given a little time to ponder the issue.
Countries prefer to be united behind an idea, behind hope and behind aspirations. And while fear and ‘retreating upon oneself as a way to make one
stronger’ sounds slightly appealing … a country recognizes that no matter what they do it is a globalized world and that … well … e pluribus unum —Latin for “Out of many, one.”
While I wish United States would remember the words that reside on our currency the new France leader remembers it and I believe recognizes the change at hand.
Out of many, one.
Well done France. I seriously doubt you will regret your choice.
If a country ceases to be good, a country will cease to be great.
“There are more ideas on earth than intellectuals imagine. And these ideas are more active, stronger, more resistant, more passionate than “politicians” think.
We have to be there at the birth of ideas, the bursting outward of their force: not in books expressing them, but in events manifesting this force, in struggles carried on around ideas, for or against them. Ideas do not rule the world. But it is because the world has ideas (and because it constantly produces them) that it is not passively ruled by those who are its leaders or those who would like to teach it, once and for all, what it must think.”