French voters reject fear mongering rhetoric

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The global tide might well have finally turned against fear mongering politics that seek to make scapegoats out of minorities and victims of war.

The people of France recently overwhelmingly voted in favour of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron over far-right Marine Le Pen with a breakdown of about 66 per cent to 34 per cent of the ballots cast.

Both leaders came from fringe political parties that recently shook the French political stage by ousting the long-standing socialist and republican parties that had become complacent and unpopular following decades in power.

The new president campaigned on promises to continue building proverbial bridges within the European Union as well as around the world to improve international relations.

His opponent wanted to close or at the very least heavily restrict borders and initiate a referendum almost identical to Brexit.

Some pundits and other people dismissed the new president as the establishment, globalist puppet. Yet that assertion completely ignores the fact his new party essentially sprouted from a movement that saw the country’s well-established parties that had ruled for decades reduced to political obscurity.

And instead of pounding the protectionist drum, Macron expressed a desire to strengthen ties with Europe as well as the global community.

“On your behalf, I send the world’s nations the fraternal greetings of France. I say to their leaders that France will be active and mindful of peace, of the balance of power, of international cooperation,” he told supporters during his victory speech.

Sounds like a far more humble, olive-branch-extending approach than a slogan such as, for example, “France First!”

Talk about a stark contrast with the American president, who wasted no time alienating the global community by promising to place U.S. interests ahead of everyone else’s — as though the country, the world’s wealthiest, has not always done exactly that anyway.

While there might be some potential for positive change following the French election, France’s new president — at 39 years of age the country’s youngest elected leader — undeniably has his share of work cut out for him.

Between a low voter turnout and a record number of spoiled or protest ballots, many people remained clearly disillusioned with their options. The young president must also seek to build up his party in the country’s coming parliamentary elections, as it currently has no seats.

So he certainly faces an uphill battle.

But Macron has already reached out with a conciliatory tone, pledging to change the political landscape so voters in France will never again feel tempted by extremes. Unlike the new U.S. president, who basically declared war on anyone who disagrees with him while praising a dictator like Kim Jong-un as a “smart cookie.”

At least in the short term, there is some relief to be found in the fact the French rejected fear mongering rhetoric in favour of optimism and hope for a better future.

— Ducatel is the Sundre Round Up editor

“The new president campaigned on promises to continue building proverbial bridges within the European Union as well as around the world to improve international relations.”

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Simon Ducatel is the editor of the Sundre Round Up and a longtime columnist for other publications of Mountain View Publishing.