23 April: A step towards mithridatism in French society?

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Mithridatism is the technique of ingesting increasingly large doses of a toxin in order to develop a certain level of immunity or resistance.

The practice is directly inspired by King Mithridates VI who, according to the legend, became immune to certain poisons by self-administering them in small doses.

When Jean Marie Le Pen made it to the second round of the French presidential elections on 21 April 2002, the ensuing shockwave was so great that the political class and citizens alike took to the streets to express their dismay, sometimes fear, and above all rejection of a vote which, at the time, appeared to have been made in protest.

We have become accustomed to the presence of an extreme-right that, poll after poll and election after election, has become a permanent fixture on the French political landscape.

Think what you will of its leaders and its programme, it is no longer viable to deny the ever-growing role it plays on the political scene or indeed the fact that those who cast their vote for its parties do so out of agreement and not protest.

In today’s world, we no longer vote for a political programme – we vote against the Front National.

Now that the first round of voting in the presidential election has passed, the democratic parties have once again begun to clash egos. In serious need of some fresh thinking, these same parties are by their actions, or rather inaction, responsible for the rise of the populist vote cast largely in favour of the extreme right.

Trust in a Republican Front against the Front National!

Yet since reaching peak strength in 2002, new cracks are appearing in the Front National’s outward face every day. The second round of voting, set to take place on 7 May, could still have some surprises in store.

Increasing use of the hashtag #sansmoile7mai (English: count me out this 7 May) and the political posturing, and occasional silence, of a number of elected officials make those cracks all the more obvious.

Mithridatism is slowly creeping into French society, bolstered by the examples set in other countries, while Marine Le Pen, with all the oratory poise she can muster, rides a wave of lies and fear.

The poison is spreading and many will grow accustomed to it. It is not uncommon to hear the occasional voice proclaim: “Even if she doesn’t win this time around, she will win seats in the upcoming legislative elections and will claim the top-spot in the 2022 presidential elections.”

I will not be resigned to sit by and watch while the poison of the extreme right seeps through my country.

I will not be resigned to bear witness to a 55/45 per cent split in favour of Emmanuel Macron this 7 May.I will not be resigned to hear on the television and read in newspapers the world over that France has become a country of right-wing extremists, where more than 30 per cent of society is racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, homophobic, xenophobic and Euro-sceptic.

I will quite simply not be resigned to doing nothing!

Emmanuel Macron needs to convince voters with his programme

During this period between the two rounds of voting, Emmanuel Macron needs to convince voters with his political programme and focus on issues that have remained unresolved for 30 years, issues on which the Front National has laid its foundations.

He needs to win by a landslide, with the highest possible number of votes.

Not for his sake, nor for the sake of his ego or his programme, the contents of which are just as dubious as the catchall, last-minute opportunism of those who joined his En Marche movement!

Emmanuel Macron needs to obtain something near the amount of votes cast in favour of Jacques Chirac in 2002 (82.21 per cent).

Not for his sake, but for the sake of France and its image in the world.

To demonstrate that French society will not succumb to mithridatism and that a poison is just that: poison.

Read the article on the HuffPost US

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