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On Tuesday Feb 12, the French Assemblée Nationale passed a historic marriage equality bill, after 10 days of fierce debates by the nation’s lawmakers.  The Assembée is the French equivalent of the US House of Representatives with 577 seats and two major parties dominating the current legislative session.  The Parti Socialiste which won the 2012 presidential election has about 51% of the seats and the UMP holds about 34% of them. The remaining seats are divided among several smaller parties including Europe Ecologie and the Front National, a far right group.  The “Mariage Pour Tous” (Marriage For All) bill passed with 329 votes in favor and 229 votes against.

What’s surprising is the amount of controversy that has been stirred up in France over the measure.  I spent several years in France and travel there now and then.  There are some interesting parallels between the political situation in France and here in the States.

French Justice Minister, Christiane Taubira
At the center of the uproar over marriage equality is Christiane Taubira, the Justice Minister appointed by President François Hollande after his election nine months ago.  Taubira has been the target of constant attacks by the Socialistes’ opponents in the UMP, the party that was headed by Nicolas Sarkozy until his defeat last year.   Taubira was a member of the Assemblée Nationale representing French Guiana for over 10 years.   As Justice Minister,  she introduced the Marriage For All bill in the Assemblée and sponsored it for President Hollande who campaigned last year on a promise of marriage equality.  Since his election, Hollande’s administration encountered obstinate opposition against his core policy proposals.  For example, the well-known ‘millionaire’s tax’ of 75% on the country’s highest incomes was overturned as unconstitutional before any revenue was collected.  
Marine Le Pen, President of the Front National
France isn’t exactly conservative.   The UMP is considered center/right by the French.  In the US, its positions would place it to the left of the Democrats.  Even the far right doesn’t want to trash the social safety net.  Using social issues as a wedge was far more muted than what was seen in the US.  Now that’s changing.  The Front National, which was once considered a dangerous, extremist organization, is becoming normalized.  After Sarkozy’s defeat last year, the FN’s leader, Marine Le Pen declared her party the only opposition that counts.  With only 18% of the vote and just a few seats in the Assemblée, Le Pen leverages her small base with pure hate for the minorities immigrating to France and disgust with the European Union.   Abrasive and provocative radio and television personalities have also appeared to help sell the "France for the French" agenda.  Anyone who doesn't fit the Le Pen image of a blond, blue-eyed "vrai français" should be expelled at the nearest border with a steep penalty for re-entry, in Le Pen's ideal world.  Marine’s 23 year-old niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen is the youngest person ever to serve in the Assemblée.  She was elected last year.
"We want jobs, not homo marriage," on the banner.
"family=1 dad, 1 mom, children" it says.


Taubira’s Marriage For All bill is a comprehensive measure that extends marriage rights to same-sex couples and it protects their parental rights as well.  That includes adoption.  The popular Marriage For All slogan is “L'égalité des droits, ni plus, ni moins” (Equal Rights, No More, No Less.)  With this, the restless and growing right found its cause.  They quickly adopted a position that allows them to claim they support marriage equality, but can’t accept the parental rights provisions of the bill.  With Taubira leading the Marriage For All effort, the right also has its favorite villain as a target.  Labelled in the press as “Maman des voyous” (Mother of the Hoodlums), Taubira represents everything that the right in France detests.  Suddenly, marchers were in the streets of every major city waving pink and baby blue banners and carrying signs with slogans like, “Un Papa, Une Maman” (One Father, One Mother.)  Supporters of equal rights called for counter-demonstrations and the Assemblée convened against this backdrop of escalating conflict.

From the start, the proceedings were full of hostility.  The UMP took a surprisingly harsh tone in its opposition to the bill.  Its representatives introduced hundreds of frivolous amendments to slow the proceedings, if not bring them to a halt.  The bigoted and offensive rhetoric on the right invited a comment from one of the representatives on the left about the “pink triangle,” which is widely known in France as the symbol used by the Nazis to identify gay prisoners who were held in concentration camps.  

Elie Aboud, one of the UMP representatives responded with a remark that was calculated for maximum effect.  He presented testimony against the bill from a child psychologist who determined that there was a risk and a danger to society from a family unit with same sex parents.  He finished his presentation by saying that it wasn’t a question of a pink triangle; it was a question of a black triangle.   This caused uproar.  In Nazi concentration camps, prisoners were forced to wear black triangles to identify them as mentally ill.  Aboud was asserting that the testimony he presented was evidence to equate being gay with a mental illness.

Taubira has an established and well-known background as a human rights activist. She is exactly the kind of person who should be in charge of the Dept. of Justice in any major country lucky enough to have her.  Even if you can’t understand French, you must listen to the way that she responded to Aboud’s outrageous claim.   She went toe to toe and chastised him for his unconscionable statement which he couldn't have possibly meant.

From here, the proceedings continued with open hostilities every day which reached a crescendo when Taubira and her opponents accused each other of being unqualified and unfit to serve in their positions.   This became a soap opera in France for those who were interested.   Taubira gradually won the public to her as she demonstrated her courage and fortitude.  Even some of the UMP representatives said at the end that she had earned their respect.

 I chose the clip below because it touches me.  It inspires.  Here one of the UMP representatives reminds Taubira of another representative from French Guiana, Léon Damas, who served in the Assemblée 50 years ago.  He tries to convince Taubira that Damas never expected equality and that his writing explains that people who are different should accept being treated differently.   Here’s where Taubira cuts him off with a lecture about Damas, his writing, his intellect, and his belief that there is never any pretext to deny anyone equal rights.  She takes an unexpected turn when she recites some lines from a poem by Damas and then ties it all back to the issue at hand.   Below the video is the text of “Nous les gueux” by Léon Damas and my own translation of it, “We the wasted ones” side-by-side.


Nous les gueux - Léon Damas

Nous les gueux
Nous les peu
Nous les chiens
Nous les rien
Nous les maigres
Nous les Nègres
Qu’attendons-nous?

Qu’attendons-nous
pour faire les fous
pisser un coup
sur cette vie
stupide et bête
qui nous est faite.

We the wasted ones

We the wasted ones.
We the lesser ones
We the dogs
We the nothing
We the starved
We the Blacks
What do we expect?

What do we expect
playing fools
pissing away
this life
stupid and dumb
until it’s done

Taubira’s words after the poem explain:

“If we don’t grant equal rights, if we don’t recognize their [gay couples] freedom, that amounts to saying to them,  “What do you expect?  Playing fools, pissing your life away , stupid and dumb, until it’s done.”

The Marriage For All bill goes to the Senate on April 2.  More demonstrations, for and against, are planned.  With a Parti Sociailiste majority, the bill is expected to pass.
Equality
Equal right march near La Place de la Bastille, Paris

Originally posted to leftreborn on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 10:37 AM PST.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  BTW, Illinois Senate is debating marriage (7+ / 0-)

    equality legislation now and voting sometime today.

  •  Our view of France from here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftreborn, Cassandra Waites, sfbob

    is that they're rather blase about marriage--i recall articles making special note of all the mistresses at the funeral for Mitterand, so this outbreak of nastiness really was a huge surprise to me.

    •  Mitterrand only had one but he maintained two (9+ / 0-)

      separate families.  That's a little different than a mistress which doesn't usually result in becoming the patriarch of an extra family.  Both families attended his funeral.  They should.  One wasn't legitimated by marriage but the law doesn't allow it.  

      The French aren't all one thing.  They vary quite a bit.  What's acceptable for straights is maybe ok for gays but they don't want to know about it.  There are still people who have no inhibition against gossiping about gays as if it were a scandal.  

      The tilt to the right is fairly recent.  I blame Sarkozy.  The French also watch everything that goes on in America and their politics is adopting some of the same crass callousness.  

      "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

      by leftreborn on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 11:49:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for your comment (3+ / 0-)

        I figured it was a bit of pollinization from American politics, our right really does poison a lot.

        relax relate release

        by terrypinder on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:49:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Repubs poisoned more. (10+ / 0-)

          That is commenting form Holland here. Yes there has ben americanist infection in our political styles too, but it isnt from your tea party. Those are seen as crazies, they wouldnt be emulated; not by the "established" right wing in any case. We do have a growing right-wing mob political style (think Wilders in Holland) but I think that is pretty indigenous - political mobs arent exactly new in European politics. Instead, the septic political intoxication came with the Bush years, from what is now seen as your establishment republicans. It was the PNAC´s ambitions and successes in practically banning left-wing thought from the reaches of publically acceptable dicourse that impressed right wingers here, and that is what they (and also the Sarkozyites in France, as fas as I know, though I´d have to defer to the diarist) tried to copy. They wanted the absolute political supremacy that Republicans seemed to achieve, but not to institute mob rule (which is unpredictable and dangerous), but to establish a semi-oligarchy, ultimately linking back to the very European padrone style. Thats quite different.

          From the perspective of a, well, say, patriotic European, what I might be, those were the more bitter years than the years now, because they demonstrated just how much European thought was de facto dependent on US political thought, even while publicly protesting against the crassities of Bush.

        •  It does... (2+ / 0-)

          ...but it pollinates (poisonously) differently.

          For example, both brands of conservatism have a "moral" component, but it plays out differently between the US and Europe.  (In this regard, the American right wing is more consistent strategically than their European counterparts.)  In Europe, the "moral failings" perceived by the right wing have more to do with economic, work, and social insurance expectations.  ("You have a 35 hour workweek and can retire at 60, and you insist on it even though we consider it a threat to the social order, so now you're going to be punished" as opposed to "God is punishing the gays by trashing the economy.")  For example, when discussing Greece, very little attention goes to its tax administration system (which doesn't administer anything) because the prevailing center-right ideology in Europe is that the Greeks are lazy.  (They aren't, they have one of the longest workweeks in Europe and have to deal with a failing infrastructure on top pf that.  That bastion of work ethic, Germany, has a shorter work week and work year than the US.)

          In the US, the conservative principle of "moral failing" is aimed at minorities, anyone well educated, GLBT folk and non-Christians, single people (especially single women), and the "DFH", a catch all phrase that started with attacks on young left-leaning baby boomers associated with "counterculture" values).  There is a strong sexual and religious component in the US that is not taking as well as they'd like in Western Europe.  (The US right wing is having a lot more success in places like Russia, China, parts of Africa, and the Middle East.)

  •  Given that Socialists did much better in the last (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftreborn, skrekk

    elections than usual, French right wing is not exactly rising. 12-15% support for Le Pen is normal, 18% support for her candidacy for president is a bit higher than normal but the difference is small. FN got 13.6% in the elections to the Parliament which is slightly more than usual but not by much.

    •  The Socialist majority seems like it created a (3+ / 0-)

      reaction on the right, similar to the tea party activity in the States which began right after Obama was elected.  But the parties are much more fluid in France than in the US where it's always Ds and Rs.  

      There was a poll in Le Monde last week that showed some shifting to the right in favor of the FN.   The prolonged power struggle in the UMP after the election fractured the party.  The FN has been claiming increased membership from the UMP and Le Monde's poll seems to agree.  

      Quite a few UMP députés took an extreme position against the marriage equality bill.  They went farther than I expected.  They're saying that if it passes they'll repeal it if they can gain a majority.  They're also insisting that it should be put to a referendum rather than legislated.   Their bitterness and anger reminds me of the tea party and I think the FN can work with that.  

      On the Socialiste side, not everyone loves them in France.  The marriage equality bill broke along party lines.  In the affluent suburbs to the west of Paris the local papers were bragging about solid votes against the bill by the representatives from their region.  

      I think the bill can help boost the Socialiste popularity.  This is exactly what people need to see from them.

      "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

      by leftreborn on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:42:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Totally! (3+ / 0-)

    I did not know Taubira before this debate, never heard of her, but I am in awe of what she has done here. I followed a lot of the clips out there, and tried to listen even though I get only isolated fragments of french and I hunted down transcriptions. I can only say, I am deeply impressed. And I am not french, Not gay, not coloured, not anything, not her audience in any way but I hear her speaking for me as well as a human. Seriously, this was one of the most moving things in a long time.

  •  A Foreign Hand (5+ / 0-)

    "All men are created equal" "Liberté, égalité, fraternité"  

    These two phrases are my favorites.  Not because they have been achieved, only because they are goals.  They were not true when first enunciated and they are still not true today.

    Something I keep thinking is that the American far right religious are involved in Europe just as they are in Africa.  Fomenting trouble; creating hate; taking mana instead of giving it.

    My hopes go with France and she realizing her goal.

    Pam Bennett -6.95 -7.50

    by Pam Bennett on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 02:47:58 PM PST

    •  One thing that I can never understand is the (5+ / 0-)

      disdain that some Americans have for France.  The two countries share a common destiny. The French Revolution took place around the time George Washington was President.   Jefferson lived in France for several years during that era too.  Both countries started with revolutions for the common man and more than 200 years later we still fight to fulfill that promise.  It's especially ironic in the US with the cult of a few privileged people at the top. That's not American.

      "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

      by leftreborn on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:27:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, the French Revolution was controversial (3+ / 0-)

        It actually precipitated a civil war in France. And in America there was certainly a more conservative faction that did not favor the progressively more radical revolution in France. The French government came close to war with the US in Adams' administration (the "Quasi-War"). Jefferson's campaign in 1800 was contentious and his enemies made much of his attraction to France.

        Today after many political changes both revolutions have a clearer place in history. But the ideal of "lliberté, égalité, fraternité" is still radical. And there are still people resisting it.

  •  France is conservative (0+ / 0-)

    nationalistic, traditional, homophobic, racists with almost no inclusion for a large Muslim population. They have a long way to go.

    •  Um . . . (3+ / 0-)

      Have you ever been there?  Do you have any idea what you're talking about?  You're calling a country "conservative" when it's just elected a Socialist government?  You're calling it homophobic when it's on the way to legalizing marriage equality?

      Yeah, France has it's problems with racism and with its Muslim minority, but it treats its people with far more decency than we in the U.S. can even dream of.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 09:40:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ever been to Alabama? (2+ / 0-)

      There is far more xenophobia in Alabama than in France.   Compared with the US overall, France is probably worse in its attitude toward immigrants, better in the "traditional" and "homophobe" department and far more secular, and about equal in terms of nationalism and racism.

      There is more geographic variation, though, in the US.  In particular, the rural US outside of the Pacific Coast and New England, is really bad compared to France or anywhere else in western Europe.

      Rude service in French restaurants is a feature, not a bug; it's not indicative of nationalism.  If you go to Paris, and you don't get at least one rude, condescending waiter, you've missed out on the experience -- I'm pretty sure they have training schools where restaurant employees are repeatedly shown the "French people" castle scenes.  

      •  If only you knew how funny and ironic it sounds (2+ / 0-)

        when Americans whine about the rudeness of French people.  It's something like pigs complaining about others being dirty.  

        The French value their own traditions and customs.  They have very specific ideas about proper behavior in public.  When you walk into any ordinary shop to buy a loaf of bread, the person behind the counter will always call out, "Bonjour Monsieur.  Qu'est-ce que vous désireriez?" It's a slightly formal standard greeting, "Hello, sir.  What would you like?"  Americans think nothing of ignoring this type of greeting but in France it's considered a sign of bad manners or something worse.  

        Any interaction with a stranger, including a waiter in a restaurant, is expected to follow the same kind of etiquette which expects politeness, courtesy, respect, and consideration.  People who know how to act and speak, and act accordingly, rarely encounter rudeness.  That's just the way it is.  It's part of putting your best foot forward.  

        Apart from interacting with strangers in a way that normal French people never would, there are other conventions that Americans don't follow.  Keeping your voice down in public is one of them.  It's bewildering to a French person in a restaurant why the family three tables away would speak to each other so loudly they can be heard by everyone.  Are they deaf?  Do they think they have something so important to say that everyone should hear it?  If so, then why are they speaking in English?  

        I brought a friend with me on one trip and she blurted something out at dinner about how great it is to have all of the stuff French people get for free.  Education, healthcare, a retirement.  She almost got a sound slap across the face for that comment, but that's another story.

        "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

        by leftreborn on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 12:04:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Marvelous rejoinder, and spot on. I am (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftreborn, terrypinder, marsanges

          enjoying your insights and the discussion in this thread. It is lively and shows an understanding of things beyond our rather claustrophobic usual commentary.

          I rec'd the comment above for having the freedom of thought to put the beliefs in writing, which made an opening for your most excellent reply.

          Thank you.

          Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

          by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 01:17:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  France’s economy is in free fall! (0+ / 0-)

    France’s economy is fold up like a cheap accordion...
    You know, that euro crisis no one is talking about:

    The virtual implosion of French industry is overlooked by analysts and pundits who claim that the eurozone had dodged disaster and entered a new, durable period of stability. In fact, it's France -- not Greece or Spain -- that now poses the greatest threat to the euro's survival.
    Hey, the fall of France is no biggie…

    Love Me, I'm a Liberal!

    by simplesiemon on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:14:46 PM PST

    •  Do you have a reference for this? (2+ / 0-)

      I work with a Frenchman, would like to be more knowledgeable.

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:39:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Usually when I see a dog barking at the moon I (3+ / 0-)

        prefer to cross the street to the other side.  The blockquote tells me there are words I can google and it returns the source of the quote.  The rationale behind it is bad news for Hollande and the Socialists, good news for me.   Certainly this is a school of thought that exists both in America and in a minority in France, too.  

        To say free fall is kind of ridiculous.  The last economic report showed a slight decline in output which was a bit worse in Germany than in France, and ironically, there was also a slight decline in the US, too.  One report doesn't make a free fall.  Everyone knows the problems.  Proportionately, the deficits and the debt in France aren't even equal to their size in the US.  

        It's really funny to see Americans who are obsessed with labels like Socialist.  Bringing up Greece and Spain and using the Socialist label there is tragic.  Greece suffered under a right wing dictatorship for decades after World War 2.  With the iron curtain at its border it fought a civil war and it repressed socialism completely.  There were no free elections until around 1975.  Since then the Socialists in Greece aren't so different than Republicans. When Romney said in the campaign that he didn't want to be like Greece people in Europe thought it was a joke. He's the son of a politician, He's a rich financier, He's a tax evader, and He's running for office.  He must be Greek.  The punchline to the punchline is:  Now remove the humor and the irony.  They take him seriously in America.  Spain's history is similar (and different). It wasn't until Franco died in 1975 that the dictatorship died with him.  

        I don't know how the economy was connected to equal marriage except for the photo in the diary that calls for more jobs.  The truth is that austerity measures are preventing growth and the central banking system which allows each country to issue debt without having its own currency needs an adjustment.

        "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

        by leftreborn on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:01:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nonsense (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftreborn, terrypinder

      It, like the rest of the Eurozone, is affected adversely by Eurozone fiscal policy.  You need to think of it as more like how a U.S. state would work if the Federal government devolved most of its functions to state governments but kept fiscal policy.

      France's debt situation isn't a whole lot different from U.S. state government, either (it's better, in fact, which is why they have a higher credit rating).

      They're not exactly in economic paradise, but because they don't issue their own currency, they can't execute monetary policy, let alone fiscal policy.

  •  She Is A True Horoine (3+ / 0-)

    France is very lucky to have her.  The world is lucky to have her.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:21:20 PM PST

  •  Vive la France (2+ / 0-)

    Vive Mme Taubira.  

  •  M. Taubira (2+ / 0-)

    clearly speaks the language of freedom and understands the power of poetry.  

    •  Which is why she found a place for herself in the (2+ / 0-)

      hearts of many French people.  Even the conservative newspaper put in its headline yesterday, "A Star is Born."
      (Just one small thing, M. is for Monsieur.  Mme. is for Madame.  A plain first or last name works too.)

      "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

      by leftreborn on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:13:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Comments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftreborn, terrypinder

    I was surprised at the degree of opposition to marriage equality from the French center-right, who, like much of the rest of the European center-right, are typically less into this sort of social issue.  (For example, the English bill culled about half of the Conservative party.  This is not a sign of controversy but of overwhelming support for marriage equality in England.)

    The message here is that the UMP may be adopting an Americanized political strategy (the Socialists did this a long time ago; Hollande hired a bunch of Obama's operatives).  The other suggestion is that the French right is less interested in marriage equality than in getting at its chief sponsor.  (To understand how this would play out in the US, which federal marriage equality bill would be likely to pass?  One sponsored by an African-American Democrat, or one sponsored by a Mormon Republican?)

    •  Your comments on political strategy match (2+ / 0-)

      a lot of what I was thinking when I wrote this.

      The US is watched very closely, like a reality show, by a lot of French people.  I've been asked about the intentions of Republicans and whether Americans fear fascism.  I understand that they're looking over their own shoulders at the past and at pockets of intolerance they still have today.

      I abbreviated the story of the Marriage For All bill.   The UMP's arguments against it included:  
      droves of foreigners will show up here asking to be married;
      complications will arise with children conceived by non-traditional methods;
      unforeseen consequences based on random attributes assigned to gay people.

      It's easy to say I don't remember hearing anyone but the Front National talking like this in France, but then I think about Jacques Chirac who was Mayor of Paris in the 70s and 80s, and President before Sarkozy.  He moved the political spectrum to the right something like Reagan did in America and Thatcher did in Britain (which is an inexact comparison to give you a context.)  Chirac organized the UMP.  He wasn't FN but in a way, he made room for the FN by shifting the spectrum to the right.  

      This is the source of French nervousness about fascism.  Is there a danger from expanding the spectrum on the right so that it includes what was once beyond the margin?  Once the unacceptable is allowed into the spectrum it gradually become normalized.   Headlines about this topic have appeared in the last two weeks because of a poll conducted by Le Monde, the leading French newspaper.  In indicates that extremist ideas on the right have been mainstreamed.  Coincidentally, the Marriage For All bill was in the headlines too.

      Mix together intolerance on the right, and a historic extension of freedom pushed by the left in the chamber of the Assemblée nationale.  That's what happened when one of the representatives on the left reacted to bigoted remarks from someone on the right by invoking the memory of the pink triangle, and with it, the Nazis, and unbelievable atrocities they committed.  (There are still people in France who have childhood memories of those years.)  Then to have a response from the right confirming the concern about the triangle while sarcastically changing its color from pink to black is explosive.  It puts gay people in the category where they were decades ago, as a sub-group of the mentally ill.  The black triangle was worn by those rounded up under a broad category sometimes referred to as "anti-social" or "misfits."  In actuality, many who wore it were lesbians, and it was also worn together with the pink triangle which was reserved for gay males.  This was the right announcing without shame that it is even worse than people suspect.  

      Since I have foot in each country I share a perspective of the US as seen from outside.  I have deep suspicion about the right and I don't trust the Republicans.  It becomes increasingly clear that they're not a real political party at all.  They're a front for something and/or someone that prefers to stay hidden.  I can say that the Republicans front for a small group of the privileged few, for now.  I can also say that their actions are fundamentally anti-democratic.  

      For that reason, when I think of the way a Republican administration would address equal marriage, I can't help but picture people being taken away in railway cars to a place where, perhaps, they will be allowed to marry.  

      "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

      by leftreborn on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 11:08:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  An excellent bit of reporting. It is one area I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftreborn

    truly miss on cable news: reporting from overseas (other than the latest very large crisis du jour).

    And now we also have a heroine and model for speaking back to outrageous right wing comments. Democrats and progressives should watch the clips to catch her intensity and freedom to speak from the heart and not the political calculation of the the head.

    I seriously consider, but don't yet have any model for what to do with people who run for political/government office while proclaiming they want an end to government. Things come to mind:
    - knowing the constitution and passing a test;
    - congresspeople already swear to up hold the constitution and to defend the US, but they adhere to a signed 'pledge' from a non elected and truly anti government, horrible man.
    - studying and being tested on each house of the bicameral legislature: rules written and unwritten. All with no false equivalence in the academics lecturing them.

    Then they can run for office. We know things are broken, it's the solutions that have not been forthcoming.

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 01:42:38 PM PST

    •  Well said. There was a key moment in the (2+ / 0-)

      proceedings for the marriage equality bill.  The debate became so heated that the President of the Assemblée called for a 30 minute recess.  When the députés  reconvened, the right demanded to speak.  They were given the floor.  They said that they decided they were owed an apology from Taubira because of her comportment.  They decided that the future of democracy depended upon a word of appeasement from the Justice Minister. The proceedings couldn't continue with it.

      Before they even finished, Taubira interrupted and asked for the floor. The idiots on the right didn't comprehend what was happening.  They thought they had laid a trap for her and now she wanted to speak.  Let her speak, they said.

      Taubira gave it all right back to them.  How could they be worried about the future of democracy without recognizing equal rights and freedoms?  How could they question her comportment with the unserious amendments they offered to disrupt the proceedings?  Their worst error was demanding a statement from her tailored to their specifications. Assemblée députés don't dictate to the Justice Minister what to say and when to say it. Taubira's freedom of speech comes from the constitution so how could they condition the continuation of the proceeding upon a demand that contradicts the constitutional law?  She finished up by asking, "And you want an apology from me?????"  Then she returned to her chair and threw her head back in a theatrical gesture of exasperation and defiance.  

      All I could say was, "If only there was somebody like this in the US."

      "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

      by leftreborn on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 03:32:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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