Signs of Hope?

Democracy of late has taken some hard hits around the world with the “Populist” movement gaining support in the last decade, but yesterday brought a couple of signs of hope.  In France, President Emmanuel Macron retained his seat against the populist Marine LePen in a vote of 58.5% to 41.5% … a far wider margin than had been projected earlier in the week!  Neoconservative writer Bill Kristol wrote about the French election results and why it is a good sign not only for France, but also for other democracies including the U.S.


Vive la France!

Macron beats Le Pen like a drum. Democracy wins.

by William Kristol

April 24, 2022 3:43 PM

How do you say “Whew!” en Francais? Google tells me “Ouf!”

So: Ouf!

French President Emmanuel Macron has won re-election over Marine Le Pen with about 58 percent of the vote to Le Pen’s 42 percent. This is down from his 66 to 34 victory of five years ago. But it’s still a pretty resounding result for a guy who had the burden of having had to govern for five tough years—which included a pandemic, breakdowns in law and order, and inflation. At one point the polls showed Le Pen closer, but when faced with the binary choice, the French gave Macron a convincing win.

Which is good. Good for France. Good for NATO. Good for Ukraine. Good for the United States. And good for liberal democracy.

The French election results came in on the heels of a New York Times report informing us that in America, “Democratic Fatalism Intensifies.” That phrase refers to Democratic party fatalism, but given the character of today’s Republican party, one could read it as also suggesting a certain fatalism about the fight to defend liberal democracy here at home.

A great Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, reminds us in Democracy in America that fatalism is a particular temptation in modern democracies, and a deadly one. Deadly to freedom, that is. Perhaps the people of France have just done their bit to awaken us from fatalist torpor and to remind us that we, too, can make our own choices and shape our own future.

And not for the first time. The Statue of Liberty was of course a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States. It was dedicated on October 28, 1886. This was near the height of the abandonment of Reconstruction in the South, and just six years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited the immigration of Chinese to the United States.

The Statue of Liberty was neither designed, nor presumably unveiled, with either of these directly in mind. Just as the French people weren’t thinking of the United States when they voted today.

But the Statue may have had some effect in helping check racism and nativism in the following years. And perhaps today’s vote in France can serve as something of an example for the people of the United States.

Of course, gifts are what one makes of them. If we read about the French election results, exclaim, “Ouf!,” and relapse into fatalism, then we will drift on to an unhappy November.

But we could also look across the ocean, feel some national pride, and resolve not to let the French—whose democratic revolution after all came after ours and had a less happy outcome than ours—outdo us in upholding freedom and democracy in the twenty-first century.

Meanwhile, I doff my baseball cap to our beret-wearing cousins across the ocean, and say, Vive la France!

I often disagree with Mr. Kristol on policy specifics, but I respect him and as he has shown with this piece, he is pro-democracy, unlike so many conservatives these days!

In other positive news regarding democracy and elections … in Slovenia yesterday, political newcomer liberal Robert Golob defeated Slovenia’s three-time prime minister, populist conservative Janez Janša, in elections in a country split by bitter political divisions over the rule of law.  Voter turnout was nearly 20% higher than in the last elections in that country, which might be taken as a good sign that people are tiring of the populist movement and the candidates affiliated with it and that they are seeing the role they must play if they wish to maintain their freedoms.  Let us hope, anyway.


And just because I found this one actually funny …

75 thoughts on “Signs of Hope?

  1. Pingback: French Election: Macron Holds Off Far-Right Push – Some View on the World

  2. I’m going to ‘light shower of rain’ on the parade.
    Although Macron did defeat Le Penn, the number of folk who made the effort to go to the polls and place both ballots papers in the envelop increased. Putting both papers in is a French way of voting for neither. This was common in the areas where poverty is noticeable.
    It was a relief of course, but we cannot rest.
    By the way, I forget. Did I tell you about Rashism / Ruscism ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhhhh … I wasn’t aware of the “both ballot papers”, nor how many had used it. Sheesh … wouldn’t it have been simpler for them to just stay home? I suppose they were trying to make a statement, eh? I have seen several articles that acknowledged Macron’s win, followed by a big BUT … Looks like he and Biden both have their work cut out for them.

      You haven’t mentioned Rashism/Ruscism to me, but on reading this comment, I did a quick search on Wikipedia and got the basics, but I’d still like to hear your take.

      Liked by 1 person

      • As we lived but the proverbial spit away from La Belle France and are used to them, I can say without fear of contradiction…
        ‘It’s a French thing’ The French y’see will make a point, and usually in some sort of demonstration. It’s how things go in France.😃

        Oh yeah. Russia. A lot of folk seem inclined to think ‘The repression and aggression all started with The Communists’ and in the 1990s…things will be better now.
        In parts of The Russian psyche, always lurks this inclination, sometimes this monumental drive to impose Russia upon a swathe of neighbours.
        Those studying International Relations theories and are inclined to the Realist (Classic) school will tell you this is a common enough dynamic for nations, but on a larger scale.
        An overview of Russian History will support this. However, there is also a native undercurrent of thought which is the Russian version of ‘The Manifest Destiny’ . With the ever present, Russian Orthodox Church; never liberal, never apolitical- you’d think sometimes wings of the American Evangelicals were inspired by it.
        Call it defence of Mother Russia’s borders, call it the Crusading Zeal prevalent in the court of Czar Nicholas I, which ended in the Crimean War. This turbulence is always there and surfaces from time to time, such as now.
        I still maintain it is not Putin’s Russia; he is Russia’s Putin. He and The Kremlin Court tuned into to a music centuries old and is dancing to its grim, slow, remorseless rhythms.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hmmmm … interesting take on Russia and its history, and I agree … more often than not the country seems to be seeking to dominate, to expand its own borders as it successfully did with the Soviet Union for a time. You’re right … it isn’t Putin’s Russia, but rather he is a product of a mindset that goes back hundreds of years and isn’t likely to change much no matter who is the nation’s leader. Ten years or so ago, there were a few Russians following my blog … just average working-class people. I remember them telling me then how much better things were in Russia than just a few years before. It’s all relative, isn’t it?

          Liked by 1 person

            • Sigh. There was a time, my friend, when this wasn’t a bad place to live, but today? It is a stressful place to live, with people thinking that their rights supersede all others, toting guns, and inflicting their will on us all. And the political climate is so toxic that I don’t know how anybody has managed to avoid ulcers. Given a choice, I’d choose the UK over the U.S. today.

              Liked by 1 person

                • Indeed it is, and I smack myself for complaining when I think about people living in Ukraine, or Afghanistan or so many other places in the world where life is a struggle every minute of every day.

                  Liked by 1 person

                    • Indeed Jill. We must continue to hold fast to this in these fractious times.
                      It maybe the first topic on my ‘Third Blog’ (Under construction). My theme will be along the lines of Complexity, Consequences of Actions, Unforeseen Consequences and more Complexity. Not so much a defence of the use of the Atom Bomb but a means to illustrate what a walk in a thick fog of a world we live in.
                      Commentary and observation.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I eagerly await the unveiling of your third blog and that 1st post! Who knows … maybe you’ll convince me to look at the invention of the nuclear bomb in a different way. I’m listening, at any rate … more people ought to try it! Now get to writing and be sure to let me know when you start the 3rd blog so I don’t miss it!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Will do M’am.
                      Advanced warning- It might lead to a place where you feel you are looking at the world through a side-show mirror upside-down. I locked into the logic years ago- which explains why I prefer rom-com and happy endings in my fictional reading.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dear, dear Roger … I am ALREADY in a place where I feel I am looking at the world through a side-show (freak-show) mirror upside down. I already feel as if I have fallen through Alice’s rabbit hole and met the Mad Hatter! Nothing you can say can make it any more … ah … que es la palabra … alien? Sigh.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Sorry, my friend, but methinks the ‘Happiness Engineers’ at WP are laughing their collective patooties off right now, watching me try this link over and over again, asking themselves how many tries it will take before I give Up! No, Roger, this one just takes me to a list of my own posts. Sigh. Remember what they say … If at first you don’t succeed …

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Just now tried it again … nope … it still has a big blue screen that says “Coming Soon”. Maybe if you commented on one of my posts using your new blog identity? We WILL beat this somehow!!! I am determined!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yeeeeeahh😠
                      I just noticed that, on my list of sites in tiny lil’ blue writing.
                      So how come I can get from my Introduction Post on my site; to the first post on the new site…….
                      Oh never mind…..
                      I’ll find a way around it.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Grudgingly I have to admit Microsoft has a sometimes better system of guidance, with written words in easy steps.
                      WP tends to rely on You Tube vids which whizz away in 1min 30sec episodes with little white arrows flying all over the place.
                      You still end up with ‘Hmm. Let’s press this button and see what happens’
                      I once purchased a WP guide for $17 (approx) which was as clear as a foggy day and was made obsolete two months later.
                      Stacked deck, I tell ya!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I can honestly say I’ve never watched a WP video … just look for written instructions and eventually succeed by trial and error! But, I’ve used Microsoft since the early 90s and can pretty much navigate through any troubles there. Yep, a stacked deck, a ‘one-armed bandit’.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • NOPE. I tried that last night, and again just now, but no joy. WP is being obnoxious!!! Can you try sending me a link again? Go to your listing of posts, then select “view” instead of edit. Copy & past the address at the top and let’s see if that works. If I ever get there, I will bookmark it, plus follow and get notifications so I never lose it again!!! Sigh. Thanks, Roger, for trying anyway.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • ps:
                      Stop this WP:
                      The genuine copy…..
                      Taken from…..

                      https://politicsandhistory359465094.wordpress.com

                      The Post!!
                      These posts will be long. For the simple reason nothing in the history of Humanity can be wrapped up in one simple line. And monumental events should never be subjected to this approach.

                      Synopsis
                      Politics, History and in particular Military history have been interests of mine for most of my life. Despite the dislike many folk have for the first and third of these, they have been and are likely to be for a long time fixtures in The Human Condition. And the interactions which lead up to events are complex, with long histories of Cause & Effect. For instance, it would not be flippant to suggest that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary of the 28th June 1914 led by a long route to the dropping of the Atom Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th August 1945 and 9th August 1945 respectively. It would be possible to go back even further when looking into the long term causes of that event, and then even further back in one of Humanity’s interminable marches to death and destruction.
                      In this first post I am going to centre on the events which led to the first use of Nuclear Weapons. This will not be some sort of justification for their use. This will be something of a cold-hearted assessment of how, We, Humanity arrived there. In addition, it is hoped this will be an indication of the intended themes of future posts. The sparse and paradoxically convoluted process as to possibly how we have reached an event and the ramifications of the journey as well as the arrival.

                      Firstly ‘On War’ (With some apologies to von Clausewitz)
                      War has never been civilised. Its purpose is not just to defeat enemy armies but destroy their resources and break the will of the people. If there was a war where the civil population did not suffer I cannot recall it (aside from maybe those which lasted days and not years). During the age of Chivalry, The Chevauchée which was a cavalry raid upon the civilian populations was a recognised tactic. Brevity limits me on other later examples. In short once war is unleashed devastation follows. A fearful logic takes over, which has little to do with behaviour during times of peace. The enemy nation or opposition’s well being is not of paramount concern, until possibly when they are beaten down. Bear that in mind as we progress.

                      A Brief History of The Technical Journey
                      This is essential as it demonstrates how we arrive at a position. We do not start with the position and work from there. The position here is one resulting in an opportunity coupled with a threat of someone else’s opportunity being presented.
                      1917 Manchester UK, Ernest Rutherford splits the atom. 1932 Cambridge UK under guidance from Rutherford and others’ discoveries James Chadwick discovers the Neutron. Following on these advances in December 1938 Berlin Germany chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman in conjunction with physicists Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch enact the process now known as Nuclear Fission. The resultant energy is noted and considered a subject for later research into a cheap form of heating.
                      What happens next takes place against the outbreak of war in general in Europe, September 1939, preceded by the flight of several scientists at the rise of fascists governments in their respective nations. Bear these two points in mind. War. Extremist Authoritarian Regimes. Because these two points have a bearing on the next events.

                      Progress and War. Cause and Effect.
                      In the USA during October 1939 Hungarian refugee physicists Eugene Wigner and Leo Szilard, while in the UK Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls German refugee physicists in March 1940 contact the respective governments alerting them to the potential destructive power of Nuclear Fission and concerns that the German Nazi government could also research this potential. Both governments take this matter seriously. Following the attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941 and the US entry into WWII the USA uses its industrial capacity to expand the research into a viable weapon. The logic of War has now embraced the nuclear field. No area of weaponry is ever left unexplored.
                      After a slow start, the mission is handled by The US Corps of Engineers and in turn Major General Leslie Groves is tasked with the oversight. He is a man of drive, foresight and determination. He will recruit Oppenheimer, arguably not for a pre-eminent expertise but for his ambition and clarity of vision. The task will involve several industrial sites, an estimated national workforce of 150,000 (the vast majority not having a clue what the final product will be) and 20+ young nuclear physicists (who will have a fair idea). Thus progress to nuclear weaponry is set in motion and War’s fearful momentum takes hold.

                      War’s Own Logic (A reappraisal) and its place in WWII
                      We look through the viewing lens of the Western Allies. By the time the now named Manhattan Project is fully engaged, the USA with the UK have been at war with two totalitarian, aggressive, militaristic, racist, imperialist regimes whose military aptitudes and drives are matched only by their ruthlessness. The fact that the USSR is possessed of many unsettling qualities is put to one side. There are no angelic nations in war. Victory or survival is the goal. The aforementioned characteristics of Nazi Germany and Japan suggest compromise and a peace will not be achieved unless both are beaten down. Both regimes appear to be locked into a fanatical quasi-legendary Past mindset, it seems the greater their set backs the more they dig into this. Realisation of their precarious strategic and industrial position does not factor into the minds of those who hold control. There maybe a few who have secret hopes, but they are nowhere near the centres of government. This can only lead to complete and ruinous defeat. The resources are slimming. The Will though, either through fear, indoctrination or national pride remains. In WWI The Will broke and the fighting in the West ceased. In WWII this option is not there. The path is to Unconditional Surrender resulting from the ability to wage resistance being destroyed. War requires it.

                      The Conventional Position Option.
                      By the time the material and the bomb itself, alongside with the means of delivery in terms of machines and men are in place Nazi Germany had been destroyed by conventional warfare. Japan remained defiant. The campaign to capture Okinawa, the first part of Japanese national soil had resulted in at least 15,000 American dead, 40,000 wounded, 36 ships sunk, 386 damaged and 780+ aircraft lost. The Japanese losses were 110,000 combat troops dead and estimated at least 50,000 civilians who had committed suicide to avoid falling into American hand and Okinawa was not traditional Japanese homeland. This was then a fore runner of what a conventional invasion force would face. The estimated initial landing force on Kyushu Island would be 14 US divisions; Normandy had required 11 allied divisions. The landings at Honshu would require in total for landings and follow up 45 divisions both with attendant naval and air support. Facing them would be a military of possibly 1,000,000 and a portion of the civilian population ready to be involved in suicidal resistance. This was not supposition this was Japanese planning. Based on the previous experiences American and Japanese military agreed on one thing; the Japanese casualties would be counted in millions. American casualty estimates on land, air and sea varied between 100,000 to an overall figure including lightly wounded of 700,000, in the initial fighting alone. It was also assumed the Japanese islands would suffer even greater additional damage than the previous heavy air raids had caused.

                      The Return To The Logic of War and Politics.
                      Faced with the potential cost in terms of life, material and the devastation of an entire nation, other means were considered. The Japanese Peace Party had no influence over the Army who held ruthless ultimate sway. Chemical and biological weapons were banned by international convention. What the outrage at home would be at the cost in US lives when other means were available narrowed the political options. It was mooted to demonstrate to the Japanese the effectiveness of the A-Bomb on an unoccupied location. Here however comes another hideous piece of logic. There was sufficient material for two bombs, whereas the explosion had been tested, the full delivery system had not been live tested because of lack of nuclear material. If the weapon failed the Japanese military would think this a poor bluff. The options were thus reduced to one. Strike two cities and shake the Japanese into surrender. The Logic of War was having its final judgement, the research had led to the potential, the potential had been made reality and the fanatical willingness by the foe to sacrifice millions of its own citizens had led everyone to this point – the 6th and 9Th August 1945.

                      Hindsight And Judgement.
                      Hindsight? How far do we go back and which location do we take? Where did the use of the A-Bomb start? In the innocent research into the mysteries of the Atom? In the decades preceding WWI whose ramifications would lead to WWII? In the creations that were Nazi Germany and resultant rise of the Japanese military out of the chaos of the 1920s? Both of whose aggressive actions causing an equally ruthless reaction when war was released? We have charted these, and we have looked into the pathways.
                      Hindsight? We could have. We should have. Who are ‘We’? Which ‘could’s which ‘should’s and ‘when’ or….. ‘when’s.?
                      By which yardstick do we measure events and their consequences? By which set of ethics do we hold judgement? Do we in The West look back 75 years into the ruined cities of Germany, the widows, the widowers, the raped, the homeless, the traumatised, the grieving parents of dead children, waggle one finger and say in insufferable superiority of the victor ‘Well. You shouldn’t have voted for Hitler, should you?’ Imagine.
                      Some judgements are easy. The concentration camps, The Rape of Nanking, the activities of the Nazi Death Squads in Eastern Europe and Russia, the Ottoman genocide of Armenians.
                      Some, in the application of War’s Logic on its own analytical level of Cost, Efficiency and Ledger Balance; not so. You would not want to be sitting in any chair making those decisions.
                      So. Who do we finally blame after a long hard road of Cause and Effect for the dropping of the A-Bombs?
                      Let’s say Everyone. Leave it at that, and learn from it.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I think Nan made a very good point. WP is hoping to pull in the ‘business’ customers who will naturally want to pay for additions because they will need them.
                      Meanwhile the rest of us get saddled with it.
                      WP should have a another operating division Word Press for The Uncomplicated Blogger.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • You’re right … they keep prodding me to ‘upgrade’ my account. No doubt, as with anything and everything else, profit is the ultimate goal — the more, the merrier, at least for those on the receiving end of said profit.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • ‘Upgrades’….sure.
                      I remember the ominous word from my Civil Service time. It went something like this:
                      ‘There will be no work over the week-end as the system is being upgraded’
                      Monday morning: First news ‘The system has crashed,’
                      ‘Gosh! Heavens T’Betsy! I am surprised!!’
                      ‘Upgrades’ 😏

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yep … ’tis why I don’t allow Microsoft or any others to ‘automatically’ upgrade my system. You remember Gronda? She had to replace her computer once after an automatic Windows upgrade!

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. LePen actually gained ground even thought she lost..the far right is not about to go away.
    The even better news was the Slovenia win…
    I dread Nov. just thinking about what might happen…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know, Mary. In this country, some are becoming disgusted with the far right and actually leaving the Republican Party or even switching party affiliations. I dread November, but … rather than dread it, let’s do whatever we can to make a difference!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, let’s hope so! I was disappointed, though not surprised, when Viktor Orbán won his re-election, but frankly I think there was a lot of corruption behind his win. He’s been in office now for 12 consecutive years, and from 1998-2002 before that. Putin is the same, having been in office for 10 years now, as well as from 2000-2008. Again, I sincerely doubt that his last election was legitimately a democratic one. Just like yesterday’s garbage, leaders need to be taken out every so often, else they start to smell really bad. I hope the people in my country and yours understand and do their duty to democracy, to humanity, to the future in the next elections. Sigh. I need a trip to Switzerland and an afternoon spent chatting over a cuppa!

      Like

  4. Hate to take the wind out of your sails, but I trust you’ve heard that Musk has all but purchased Twitter. Which, by all indications, will bring a return of you-know-who. (Although at this current moment, the orange blob has said he won’t return because he’s going to focus on his OWN social network … which I heard has already bombed … ??)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, I heard, and my fingers furiously beat on my keyboard for a while! But, it doesn’t detract from my joy over the French election. Election of a nation’s leaders is what will either save or kill this world … whatever Musk does with Twitter will be annoying and angering, but it won’t make a damn bit of difference to most of us. And, Musk isn’t home free yet … he has to liquidate some stock, and the SEC will have a say, as well. It’s likely to take several months and a number of things could still interfere with his plan. Yeah, from everything I’ve heard, even Trump doesn’t post on his “Truth Social” and not too many people have successfully signed on to it. I’m laughing!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: SIGNS OF HOPE. |jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

    • Indeed, if all neoconservatives were like Bill Kristol, we could find ways to work across the aisle to solve, rather than create problems. He changed his party affiliation to Democrat in 2020, having seen enough of what the Republican Party has become. He’s still conservative, but no longer a Republican.

      I’m doing okay … yes, still a very slow recovery and I don’t feel that I’ve gained new ground lately, but I can still do a heck of a lot more than I could 4-5 months ago. Cardiologist appointment is next Monday … I’ll let you know what he says! Thanks for caring, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

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