Three years of my life as an EU student of English Literature at the University of East Anglia,England.
This post is quite unusual for my blog and might not be very interesting for many of my readers but I’d like to talk about a big event that’s happening in France and French overseas territories: the presidential election! The first round, to be more precise.
This is a big event in the life of a French person since, unlike the General Election in Britain for instance, French people get to vote directly for the candidate they want (out of a list of 11 candidates this time). This time is particularly special for me because it’s the first time I can vote for presidential election! Last time, five years ago, I hadn’t turned 18 yet. Back then, I wasn’t interested in politics but I remember some friends talking about it (and telling me how they were going to vote for an awful person!) and I remember when my father came in the kitchen one evening and said “Turn the TV one, we have a new president!” I felt so relieved that the “PS” (Socialist Party) had won.
Until a few months ago, I still didn’t know much about politics in general or about French politicians but I wanted to start following the news and the whole campaign more. I tried to have a look at the news in The Guardian and also French newspaper Le Monde to stay updated with the world regularly but I just couldn’t. Despite all the things I read for university, I’m unable to focus on news articles and cannot stand all the misery I see or read in them.
I already knew that I’d vote for a candidate on the left but, I am slightly ashamed to say, I hadn’t realised the whole controversy (and utter disappointment) regarding the Socialist Party in France. I guess they’re a bit like the Labour Party in the UK – very divided.
Recently, my boyfriend who has dual citizenship (French and British), became really interested in politics so we started talking about it a lot.
That’s how I discover who I jokingly call “my candidate” with my housemate: Mélenchon (Baelenchon ❤ ). At first, I still wanted to vote for the Socialist candidate because I thought it was more “useful” but then I basically became a massive fan and supporter of Mélenchon, what he represents, his incredible rhetoric, his honesty, simplicity, intelligence (he used to be a literature teacher!)… He basically defends everything I defend and made me more aware of some very important things. He’s got a Youtube which makes it so easy to see what he has to say and also very close to people (especially young people). In short, I find him amazing and I’m so grateful that he’s running to be president again and that he’s made me super interested in politics.
Seriously though, this guy is awesome. He presents itself as the candidate of “peace” and is not afraid to say what he thinks, even if (and especially when) that means directly attacking other candidates who say… complete nonsense.
But enough said about him.
I am excited to vote and so happy to be able to vote for someone I truly like and support rather than vote for the “least horrible” option. At least in the first round. We’ll see who’s left in the second round – I’m sure it’ll have to be a choice for the least horrible one (or “vote blanc,” meaning “white vote”. Basically you vote but for nobody).
This election has confirmed what I already knew unfortunately: that some very dangerous people in France keep rising, keep getting supporters by using hatred and fear of the “Other” as their main political instrument and it’s not the France or the world I want to live in. Unfortunately all I can do it vote for those who I believe truly care about people (and not just French people), peace and unity. Not those who want to and will inevitably divide the country even more.
Which is why, despite being really concerned about all this, I really try not to think about it too much. Otherwise I couldn’t sleep at night. There’s so much misery in France, a very rich and developed country, and elsewhere in the world and I just can’t stand the thought of it. I don’t understand how so many people who are not totally stupid can be so mean, narrow-minded, racist… Recently, in an amazing speech, Mélenchon said: “We cannot live happily in an ocean of misery.’ I agree with that. Wishing for a world in which people would be open, kind and caring shouldn’t make me an idealist or a naïve person.
Anyway… I’ll post another update about French politics after the first round which is on Sunday 23rd, the day before I fly back to Norwich! (I’m glad I can actually be there to vote – otherwise I would have had to sign a document saying that she’s allowed to go vote for me.)