By now, alert observers of the passing public scene have gotten used to language as well as principles being battered in the political process. Along the way, not only is freedom lost, but often coherence as well. The contest in France between anti-globalist Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, whom major media have agreed to classify as a “centrist” (which makes him part of the radical middle?), has yielded yet another linguistic head-scratcher.
After edging Mme. Le Pen by one point over the weekend in round one of their expected two-round contest (round two set for May 7), Macron told his supporters, “I want to be the president of patriots against the threat of all the nationalists.”
Hmm. Let’s see if we can parse this one. I take it our Emmanuel is saying that if you’re a nationalist — thinking there is something really special about being French — then you can’t be a patriot. But if you’re not a nationalist, following from this that you don’t think there is anything special about being French, then you’re a patriot. But patriotic to what? To Europe? To Brussels? To the Euro? To the idea that Europe’s E pluribus makes an unum out of Albanians and Finns?
Maybe this one just loses something in translation.