Thanks, Marine Le Pen. Thanks very much. Thank you for your live TV 'coming out' last Wednesday, while facing your opponent, Emmanuel Macron.
Thanks to your ugly, hysterical, insane, out-of-control outburst of hatred towards the young, clean-handed Macron, you scared the French people.
Your crazy rage finally scared the leftists who could not drop a ballot for Macron-The-Banker (and even worse, an ex-partner of Rothschild Bank ...) but understood that they could not stay home on Sunday, that they had to get out and stop Le Pen.
It was hard to get them moving: for young leftists, Marine Le Pen initially seemed not as bad as her Dad. She sounded more like a "rebel", a kind of "working class hero", than a racist and a fascist. A new generation who does not remember what fascism, xenophobia, racism, nationalism, did to Europe. A little bit of dictatorship would remind my progressive friends what democracy is about. On election night, for example, the National Front had a blacklist of journalists prohibited from entering Le Pen's headquarters. They hate the press, like their idol, Donald Trump.
Thank you too, Marine Le Pen, for scaring the conservatives who could not choose between the ex-socialist minister Macron and the extreme-right. So they had planned to go to their country houses for the long weekend instead of voting. Since your loud TV rants, some of the conservatives looked at you and saw your father, in 2002. At the time, Jean-Marie Le Pen reached the second round and millions of French people marched in the streets declaring their intent to "stop fascism". Chirac was elected with 82.2% of the votes. Big. Le Pen le pére got 5.5 million votes.
That was 15 years ago.
The detoxification, or de-diabolization, machine and history-laundering worked at full speed during these 15 years. The blonde daughter swept away the old souvenirs of Vichy, Nazi collaborators, fascist militia, shaved heads and swastikas. Very efficient house-cleaning. She just spoke a speech of hatred against the Other - non-white, non-French born, not Christian - claiming she'd close the borders the day after she'd been elected. To stay entre nous, amongst our own kind, true-blooded descendants of the ancient Kingdom of the Francs. To get out of the European Union. On election night, in 2017, 10.6 million French people voted for her.
One reason for her success is that France has suffered from murderous terrorist attacks, perpetrated by a new generation of local jihadists, from among the huge Muslim French community. Da'esh - or the Islamic State - was very good for the extreme right party of Marine Le Pen. And still is.
The youngest president of the western world won't fix this problem very soon. And he knows it. Emmanuel Macron had a huge victory last night. We are all very happy to live in a country that still loves its democracy, even if it is not in love with its political leaders. That I understand.
Annette Lévy-Willard is a journalist, writer and former diplomat.
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