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darobin (1316)

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Journal of darobin (1316)

Sunday April 21, 2002
10:24 PM

Crook or Fascist?

[ #4357 ]

I might just as well warn you, gentle reader, that I writing here past 5 in the morning, only just now back from the Paris front still choking with tear-gas, and that I am very, very angry. Because of that, while it is unlikely that my opinion will change in times to come, my language might be a touch too strong for the easily shocked.

So what happened? How is it even possible that in a country that is sociologically leftist, in a country that even last month had the highest declared satisfaction ever about the current left wing government's action over the past five year, in a country that has one of the longest democratic traditions, we are now faced with a choice between a mafia-supported crook that makes Berlusconi look like a cute teddy bear, and a hardcore fascist that has publicly denied the Holocaust ever took place?

The blame goes two ways.

I don't think that the Socialists did a bad job in government. In fact, while I've been the first one to say over the past five year that they could do more, pretty much everyone agrees that they did a good job. In fact, comparing them to the Balladur and Juppé governments is likely to get smiles out of anyone, even out of right wing people.

However their campaign sucked. People wanted something strong, something to believe in. Not just "We've been good, we'll keep being good." I wanted blood from the start, didn't get it, and was indeed disappointed. The program itself was good, but nowhere did I hear about the key points in it such as the universal lodging system, or continued education. That was step one of the defeat.

Step two is of an entirely different nature. It is made up by a large bunch of fuckheads that think that voting should be a personal pleasure. How many times have I heard people say "oh I don't care, it'll be the same no matter what." While I was not a full supporter of all that the Socialists did, that statement already made the utmost braindeadness of the carrier evident. Anyone that was conscious before 97 can tell you there was a difference.

So many of them just didn't vote, or voted for their own personal pleasure instead of thinking about the people for which the CLU, the CMU, the PACS, the massive regularisations, and many other things do make a difference (eg voted for one of those delightful trotskyist candidates, such as Arlette, that keep saying that employed people should "just get a job").

And now they're complaining that they've got a choice between a crook and a fascist. Oh yeah. Poor souls, it mustn't be easy living when you're that braindead. Pah, fuck them. If you're one of them, fuck you.

Hey frenchies! was it fun laughing at americans when they eleceted Bush? Well, keep laughing while you can as if you keep it that way in three years time the only pride you'll have left is that at least your leaders don't foster fake coup d'états in oil-rich south american countries.

Anyway, what can I say? Now all those losers, all those wankers that were complaining that they weren't seeing any political differences without ever bothering to go read the actual programmes are all crying, and swearing to goodness that they'll go vote against the fascist. Oh cool, so we'll have a crook then.

What I know for sure is that I won't vote for any one of them. Between Le Pen and Pasqua's best friend, ie between a negationist and a guy that is involved in so many stories covering just about everything from simple fraud to murder and drug trafficking, I'm not giving the small legitimacy of my voice to either. Hey, I'm white, I'm French, I'm not homosexual, I might not be rich but I'm not yet poor, so why should I care? I'll just let those fucking morons sort it out for themselves, just in case this time they notice that there's a difference, and that every single vote counts.

And it they still don't, well fuck them. It's their problem by now.

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  • I must confess I read the headlines about the French result this morning with no small amount of dismay and wondered what you'd have to say about it.

    Quite, quite mindboggling.
    • Thanks. It is mindboggling, although not surprising once you take into account all of the factors. Add to that that Jospin is an excellent Prime Minister (he would have won the second round as many right-wing people would have voted for him) but a very poor candidate.

      I might as yet revise my judgement on not voting, or voting blank. It's a tearing decision because I firmly believe in democracy, and it's hard to know which is worse between refusing to vote, or knowingly help put to power a mafioso.


      -- Robin Berjon []

    • Me too! Well, except for the part about dismay, since I don't really know enough about any of the candidates to have an opinion about them, and besides, I am a conservative. :)
      • Um... LePen's an avowed fascist who has dismissed the Holocaust as a 'detail of history'.

        I know you're right wing, but I'd be surprised and dismayed if you were right wing enough to not care whether LePen got in.
        • I have no problem with you being against him, but unless and until I do some research into him myself, I won't condemn him. I know nothing about him except for that one quote, and that is hardly fair to use as a basis of judgment for a person. I don't even know in what context he said it in, for example. Maybe he was hosting the French version of Saturday Night Live and said it as a joke, for all I know. I am quite sure that is not the case, but the point is that it is unreasonable for me to judge him b
          • Fine, you've got an open mind. And yes, it is unreasonable for you to judge him in ignorance.

            My point is that I'd be surprised and dismayed if, after you have done something about the ignorance, you came down in favour of him. Not that I'm expecting you to go out and research him, France is, after all, a long way from the US.
            • If he seems to have a chance of winning the general election (or actually does win it!), I vow to, time permitting, research him. :-)
              • He almost certainly won't win -- though I'd be wary of taking too many bets at this point -- but if he does, don't worry that you'll have plenty of material to research as there is no doubt that it will cause lots of analysis and serious instability in country that can easily have millions of people in the streets.

                For the record, the part about dismissing the Holocaust as a detail is not used out of context but in fact part of one of his major speeches. He also made lots of puns about ovens and sho


                -- Robin Berjon []

      • and besides, I am a conservative.

        Again, I guess you haven't researched Chirac much, but even for conservatives there are far better choices (ie far less involved in dozens of financial affairs, mafia deals, drug trafficking during the Algerian war, etc.) such as for instance Bayrou. And at least some of the others don't change their minds every other day, or haven't made racist remarks (the famous one being "the noise and the smell" of immigrants). If I were conservative, I'd have voted to kick him


        -- Robin Berjon []

  • I blame France's daffy electoral system.

    Any sane system for electing a single person to an office should end with a runoff election with just two candidates, where all voters must vote either for A and against B, or against B and for A.

    At least France can change its electoral system. As currently constituted, the US's system is no more likely to get fixed than the moon is likely to turn square for a day or two.

    • I don't think it's the electoral system, but much rather the current (fifth) constitution. It was created in other times, when it was considered important that France should have a strong figure to represent it abroad and to itself (the President) and an administrative side (the government, chosen by a different election) to take care of internal affairs.

      The problem is that France has changed a hell of a lot since then, and so has the world. Do we really need a President when for most things we sho


      -- Robin Berjon []

      • I've got a random question: Why does the French national government have a Prime Minister and a President? What do they do?

        I actually knew this at some point, but was mostly fixated on how it was clearly some fever dream of De Gaule's, and so I remember nothing else about it.

        • It was a fever dream... the President is in charge of stability (major reforms must go through him, especially constitutional ones) and of foreign representation (he's the "voice of France"). The Prime Minister is in charge of internal administration (ie almost everything now that we have Europe).

          That system made more or less sense when it came to be. It's now over, but the problem is that any attempt by the Left Wing to change the constitution (and move on to the Sixth Republic) with a President t


          -- Robin Berjon []

  • I am ashamed (Score:2, Insightful)

    Yes, I am quite ashamed at being French today. And actually considering moving. I felt literally sick going out this morning and knowing that 1 personne out 8 I would see in the street voted for a fascist (Le Pen + the other extreme right guy got 20% of the vote, 30% of voters abstained... that's about 1/8 of the voters), amongst which most likely half of the people I buy my bread, groceries, etc...

    I guess the reason is the usual: the world is complex, it is hard to understand, and for every complex proble

    • So am I. I am not, however, considering moving. Jumping boat won't help more than Rilke helped Germany when he went into exile in Brazil and eventually committed suicide with his wife in 1942, thinking that the world was going to become a fascist dystopia.

      This is where it's happening, and not all is lost as yet. Already I'm hearing accounts from all over France of people going to their local sections of the Socialist Party and saying "I'm sorry, I voted for Le Pen because I wanted to scare Jospin i


      -- Robin Berjon []

  • I'm reminded of a thing a manager I respected (he didn't directly manage me but I respected most of his opinions) said. He would rather deal with a greedy man than a stupid man. A greedy man can be persuaded [with money, duh] while a stupid man can't.

    I hate to say this, but I would take the mafioso over the fascist (if it can down to those two choices).

    Hopefully the people will smarten up when it comes time to elect your parliament.
  • More than a decade ago, another (at least partially) Francophone place had a somewhat similar election. Here are a couple of relevant paragraphs from a Discover article about the mathematics of voting []:

    The advantages of an approval vote -- and the perils of plurality voting -- are most apparent in contests like the Louisiana governor's race of 1991. The primary that year was dominated by three candidates: Edwin Edwards, the often-indicted former governor; David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux

    • Where are one's moderation points when they're needed? Thanks a lot for this excellent article, I forwarded it to many people in the French political net.


      -- Robin Berjon []

      • I actually found it by googling for "vote-+for-+the-crook-+it's-important". I remembered the bumper sticker, but not enough of the details of the election.

        I'm shooting pool tonight with a friend who's from New Orleans. I'll have to ask her if she has any interesting insights.

        Of course here in Washington, DC, we've had our own problems with a voting system that doesn't even have a runoff between the top two. That's how Marion Barry managed some years ago to make it back into the mayor's office after get
        • Choosing a good runoff system is also hard. Here we have (mostly) two. For the Presidentials, people vote directly for the President, and only two candidates can stay, no matter how close the third one may come.

          For parliamentary elections, you vote for whoever are running for deputation in your area (there are about 500 districts). However, any candidate that scores more than 12.5% of the electors (ie voters + abstentionists) can choose to stay for the runoff. Before the Front National (fascists) b


          -- Robin Berjon []

        • I'm shooting pool tonight with a friend who's from New Orleans. I'll have to ask her if she has any interesting insights.

          Well, she did say that the followup bumper sticker, after Edwards was elected, was "Impeach the crook, it's important".

          • Ah, yes, impeachment. We tried, but it's not so easy. The fact is that while Jospin was running the country as Prime Minister, Chirac was still there as President. At some point he was called to court (as a witness in an affair we all know he was directing whlie mayor of Paris) and refused to go.

            The problem bounced back and forth as a hot potatoe as people from various legal instances tried to see what they could do (no party wanted to look like the ones that downed Chirac too close to the election


            -- Robin Berjon []