Former President Barack Obama took to video to speak to his “friends in France” about the violence over the past month and about President Macron.
I’m not entirely sure I have a ton in common ideologically with those in yellow vests demanding relatively moderate reform by burning trash cans and flipping cars, but I have less in common with the riot shield bearer and his boss.
Obama said that Macron offers hope, instead of preying on fears like a demagogue.
While hearing this, the images of smoking tear gas canisters launched from riot police came to mind. Legions of militarized cops sent to disperse the protestors who amassed tens of thousands of supporters. The violent and visible hand of the state’s enforcement wing.
It’s hard to agree Macron offers hope, and not fear. But like Obama, he’s a rhetorical sweetheart. Meanwhile, behind him jack boots wielding the uniform of the day and the weapon most suited form public opinion and/or “democratize” far off lands.
I’m interested in where this leads. The signal from Paris is that protest can lead to concession. But instead of rebuking the bridle altogether, the gilet jaunes are just asking for a slightly lighter touch on the reigns. Hopefully, the more radical libertarians among them can remind them of their rich anti-authoritarian roots.
Anyways, viva la France or whatever.