An open letter to the French President

Mr Macron,

My dear Emmanuel,

Manu, my man, if I may. You know you are every centrist’s dream come true (meaning, in American terms, a liberal who’s socially on the left without it being an insult). They said it would never happen in France in a million years, they said it would be left or right forever, and then you came. Of course your opponents had the charisma and integrity of an oyster who somehow joined the mob, but still. The right chose mister goody-goody before knowing he was more mister briby-briby, and the left was so scared of its base actually electing a leftist it took them about half a heartbeat before abandoning poor, nice, idealist Benoît to come knocking on your door (if you want to know how well that went, google Manuel Valls), and so here you are.

You did win kind of a landslide, and I understand how that can get to your head. I mean I loved your lonely walk across the Louvres to the sound of the European anthem, and your bromance with Justin is quite enjoyable – though not as much as your make the planet great again stunt, that one was real cool. You showed once more that your communications team actually lives in the 21st century, and that was great.

But. You won a landslide yes, but against Voldemort – let’s be honest – and with the abstention rate skyrocketing. So you got your supermajority at the Assembly, but it’s kind of the same problem. Please don’t forget that your country is awfully divided and has seen the biggest surge in far-right voters and supporters since brown shirts were all the heat. Génération Identitaire is still a thing, la Manif pour tous is exporting its brand and refugees are not safe (this time google Cédric Herrioux for more on this wonderful climate).

You are every centrist’s dream and your program could actually work, but you need to be smart and not forget how you got there. Do the popular things first. Prioritize things that are going to help people, to heal the divide. Promote education, do something for the migrants in Calais, support the economy. Enough with the state of emergency being passed into law, enough with cutting the budget of Education and Research, enough with the division and paranoia. Moralizing public life is one of your great ideas, please actually do that. And make sure your Ministers are irreproachable. It’s early enough for you to choose that course, please don’t let us down.

I’ve spent so many years telling everyone the center is actually the way to go, I’d like to go on believing it. Without wanting to sound dramatic, ot might be one of the last chances to save the West as we know it.


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