In November when Trump won the presidency of the United States, that Friday I went to a party. It was interesting, as the lone American in the room I was bombarded with questions. “How do you feel? How could America vote him?” Then they tried reassuring me, “not much will happen… He is just a politician. They don’t do much anyways.” It was interesting, because as a history major, I shut my mouth – not wanting to start anything at a birthday party.
I get frustrated with people who think studying history is not important, just a stupid subject we are forced to study in school. I get mad at people who don’t take me (or others) seriously when I (we) start to get passionate about history and connecting it to what is happening today… People who would rather stay in their bubble, because the consequences might not affect them as much. History teaches us, if we pay attention, what will happen in the future. At that party, I had started to say things were going to get out of control, and that was why they tried to console me with their words, that not much would happen… yet here we are in April, months after Trump won the American presidency, and France is scared that Le Pen is about to enter the Champs Elysée.
At a local level in time people think things are fine, then things rapidly spiral out of control until they become unstoppable, and we wreak massive destruction on ourselves. For the people living in the midst of this it is hard to see happening and hard to understand. To historians later it all makes sense and we see clearly how one thing led to another. (Stone, Tobias. “History Tells Us What May Happen Next with Brexit and Trump“.
I truly feel like this is a repetition of what we saw in the states. We have on one side, Macron (who I feel has a few similarities to Hillary – is a banker, rich, moderate, etc.). On the other side, we have Le Pen, who is a fascist, far right thinker. By what I have seen, the French people are tired of what they have been dealing with the past couple of years. Taxes are extremely high and businesses are leaving the country, unemployment for the young is also high, immigration is a big aspect in this race… So it is scary.
As an American, I am scared that this will be a repeat of what happened in the US.
The thing that really upsets me is that people have this mentality that, “no, what happened in America won’t happen here”, the same mentality a lot of Americans had, “no, Trump could never win the presidency”. There are things that we should take in consideration :
- People don’t like Macron or Le Pen, so there are people choosing to simply NOT vote (which is troubling, because these are the kinds of people who think “well, it doesn’t really affect me”). Mélenchon had a high following (he was far left), and a lot of his followers actually thought he would be in the final round. This thinking was something important in the result of the American race (Bernie vs. Clinton).
- People believe that to have a real revolution, they should vote extreme – in this case, Le Pen. Macron, in no doubt, would be a repeat of what Hollande has done the past couple of years. Moderate left/centrist, no real changes, and he has a few controversies within certain parties.
- People will “vote blanc (white)” – meaning no vote for one or the other but agree in the process of voting and want to participate.
- Journalists are talking a lot about Le Pen, like journalists were talking a lot about Trump.
So, I get anxious in trusting what the polls are saying. The polls in the states also said that Clinton had a higher chance of winning (granted, the voting system in the states is completely different than the one in France). The world is watching, which is scary. Whoever wins, it is going to say a lot about what will happen in the future and if we, as humans, will ever learn from what happened in the past.
(These are my opinions. I am an expat in France, I believe this election is important in how the world is going to move forward. A lot of these opinions are based off of articles I have recently read and posts from French friends I have seen on Facebook. I am asking people to pay attention and most importantly, vote. My blog doesn’t tend to be a political one, but when I believe I should speak, I do.)
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