The France Presidential election has already alarmed the Powers That Be™. These would be the soft, effete, comfortable, insular, hiding elites ignoring the challenges all around them because they’re scared.
France has two choices: Marine Le Pen, a middle-aged woman willing to name the problem of Islamic terrorism. She has dubious solutions to homegrown terrorism but she at least sees the problem. Then there is the younger, telegenic, Emmanuel Macron. Handsome, vapid, and using the language of the French–surrender–he will probably get elected.
In presidential elections, here’s a not-so-scientific metric for who will win: who looks better on T.V. There used to be the “good hair” metric used by others, but that’s limited. In an age where bald can be beautiful, hair matters less. Comeliness in HD, though, does matter.
That’s why the election between Hillary and Trump was so difficult to call. They’re both aging Baby Boomers who’d lost their luster. Donald Trump was “high energy.” That made up for the foppish blonde combover.
The French election is different. A young, vibrant man saying old tired things will more likely appeal to voters than a middle aged women saying fresh, scary things (for this generation, anyway.)
This is an interesting time in history. A reminiscent time in history. An unnerving time in history. In the presage to World War II, parallel worlds existed: a false hope suffused most of Europe. No one wanted to face the threat and those who did were ignored or ridiculed. Meanwhile, harsh economic conditions caused massive discontent. Today, the radical Islamic threat is a chronic, relentless menace threatening all aspects of Western society–especially in France. While the economy is not Depression-era bad, there’s a hopeless malaise suffusing economic discussions. How to deal with automation? How to bring back jobs that are dead? Yet citizens bumble merrily along hoping for change. It didn’t happen with Obama. It won’t happen with Trudeau. And it wouldn’t happen with Macron. It’s questionable whether it would even happen with Le Pen.
Both the economic and military threats today are more diffuse, metastisized, and spread out than in the 1930’s. There were multiple tumors back then. Now, the cancer is in the marrow, the blood, everywhere. Worse, the host doesn’t realize it’s even sick. For those who see, fighting this disease is more difficult. Those who lived through the 1930’s will scoff at this notion. But is very difficult to fight everywhere, all the time, and that’s what the West now faces.
In France, the two potential leaders represent two worlds. There are those who believe Western culture is still worth fighting for and those who believe that Westerners must live with the “new reality” as if the new reality doesn’t have goals of its own and more ambitions than to just terrorize people. Radical Islam seeks domination as surely as the menace who rumbled through Europe nearly 80 years ago.
Do the French sense their precarious state? Is it in their nature, as a country, to face it and fight it? France faces an existential threat. This election hangs on whether the populace recognizes it or not. And the worst part is, it might not matter who’s elected. It’s likely too late, anyway.