Christine Clerc’s Campaign Diary: “Fragile, so fragile trust”

This Sunday’s column, May 29, by journalist Christine Clerc.

Talk about ? It would be, said François Mitterrand at the funeral of Pierre Beregovoy “hand over a man’s honor to dogs”. Not talk about it? Complacency lasted a long time towards the supposed “Vert Galants”. As for Damien Abad, the choice is even more painful. The Minister for the Disabled, a native of Nîmes who failed the ENA oral, but graduated from Sciences Po Bordeaux before becoming councilor in Vauvert (Gard), chairman of the departmental council of Ain and, finally, chairman of the parliamentary group LR , to whom left unscrupulous, is a “long-toothed” quatrain. But he is severely disabled. Can we treat you like your peers? Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne would like him to go. But Emmanuel Macron, all too happy to have weakened the right by this “take”, is counting on Ain’s voters. Another skill? It should no longer be allowed, however, for a minister to be accused of rape. Or even if he allows himself to launch, like Gérald Darmanin against Apolline de Malherbe (BFM): “Calm down, Madame. It’s going to be okay…”

In the face of such behavior, the profession of female journalist remains at high risk. I remember posing with some friends for the cover of a women’s magazine: all in gray pantsuits! It was about thirty years ago. We laughed about it today. But when I see a young colleague in a low-cut dress on TV, while her male colleagues are in suits and ties, I tell myself that she is a victim of a strange fashion. As if we expected less skill from her than… sex appeal!

Already, trust is crumbling

Elisabeth Borne opted for a serious style without being too austere: short skirt, but not mini like Brigitte Macron’s. Small heels. Her formidable experience as advisor to Lionel Jospin, director of the city of Paris close to Bertrand Delanoë, mayor of Poitou Charentes, minister of ecological transition and after her work in the governments Édouard Philippe and Jean Castex, prepared her for Matignon. While neither Georges Pompidou, Prime Minister de Gaulle for six years, nor Raymond Barre, appointed by Giscard for four years, had to submit to universal suffrage from the start, since they held their powers from the President, why Emmanuel Macron wanted your Prime Minister to be elected in Calvados? If not to divert our attention, at the time of legislative elections, from more serious issues? But the French feel it. Already, trust is crumbling. National Education Minister Pap Ndiaye did not find himself inflicted with the same restriction. It must be said that, without government experience, the burden of a ministry that employs more than a million civil servants and has to raise the standard of twelve million students is almost superhuman. We thank the new minister, suspected of “wokism”, for having inaugurated his term with a tribute to Samuel Paty. A personal memory for this Franco-Senegalese intellectual: towards the end of his life, I visited, in the Norman castle of his wife, Leopold Sedar Senghor. The illustrious Normalien, twice Minister of the French Republic before becoming President of Senegal for twenty years, told me “You have the signs of Normandy: a lucidity tinged with lyricism”… He had invented other words, like blackness. He was proud of it and his people shared his pride.

He is, Obama, Montesquieu

scared of everything

I’m not afraid to say it: today, everyone is afraid of everything and, first of all, of recognizing it. I would be afraid to be in the same boat if, for fear of missing a train, I wasn’t afraid to flaunt my clumsiness. Not only am I afraid of everything, but also of everyone who is afraid for fear that fear is contagious. I’m afraid of the disease, afraid of the pandemic, afraid of the agony and afraid of life that always ends badly. I am afraid to say that a woman is the most beautiful gift for a man, but that this is often refused in the name of morality and the law. I’m afraid to cast my gaze that doesn’t see much in female curves anymore, but afraid to forget that any happiness that the hand doesn’t reach is just a dream.

Passing the time…

I’m afraid, multiplying the signs of concern for the supposedly fair sex, of being accused of harassment, but afraid of being accused of impotence if I keep my distance. I was afraid of being loved for my money, but taxes, foolish spending, and inflation freed me from that fear. When it comes to politics, I’m afraid of the extreme right, the extreme left and the extreme center. I have a feeling that next month I would be afraid of wasting time going to vote for candidates who have no chance of being elected, and that next week I would be afraid of unnecessary disruption in favor of candidates lucky enough to do without my voice. I fear the passage of time and the delays of several decades of waiting imposed on Ukraine before being admitted to the European Union. I am afraid of the bloodthirsty Putin who has six thousand atomic bombs when a thousand would be enough to completely destroy our globe. I’m also afraid of China, India, North Korea, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, which is no longer my cup of tea since it changed its name to Ceylon.

Become an excavator…

After a long career as a slanderer, I’m afraid of speaking ill of others, but I’m also afraid of appearing to lose interest in humanity. I’m afraid of bad dates, but I’m afraid of loneliness. I’m afraid that people will forget the services I provided, but I’m even more afraid that people will remember those I refused to provide. Until I eat dandelions by the roots, I would be afraid to grow vegetables on my porch, but I am even more afraid that their prices will rise faster than sap. I’m afraid of the lure of profit and the squint that prevents a person from being suspicious of shady deals. I’m afraid of losing my casino savings, my teeth on my dentures, and my sense of direction in a confused civilization. I’m afraid of driving a car and afraid of being driven when I’m not driving. I’ve always been afraid of becoming a digger by dint of cultivating, but now I’m afraid that my memory will be filled only with old-fashioned knowledge. Yesterday I was afraid of eating too much, tomorrow I would be afraid of starving. In the same way, I was afraid of dying young and now I’m afraid of dying of old age. I fear that by joining hands I am attacking secularism, but I fear that by crossing my fingers I will no longer be heard by any god. I’m afraid of not being afraid of anything after being afraid of everything. But my biggest fear is starting to shake the day before I’m afraid…

January 20, 2009, in the bitter cold, two million people packed the mall in Washington. Neither Americans everywhere, nor we – reporters from around the world – will see Barack Obama up close. But the chilling event is global, and never, ever will the inauguration – that’s the word in the United States – of a new president’s term attract so much light. Remarkable Symbol: The 44th President will be sworn in on the same Bible as Abraham Lincoln. His predecessor who had abolished slavery. In France, surveys question “you will be ready to vote for a man, a woman, of black skin in the Elisha…”. The fervor of the moment must have been deceiving. In 2022, a mixed race – not 100% black – a mixed race… like Obama – appointed Minister of National Education poses a problem. Pap Ndiaye faced, as soon as he reached the rue de Grenelle, torrents of suspicion, not to mention insults. An indigenist, he launched Madame Le Pen.

Discrediting won’t help unite

The truth forces us to say that, in this case, the extreme right does not have a monopoly on violence and slander. On the left, the flag-bearing high priests of universalism are also demanding. Everyone now knows the words “woke up,” “wokism,” portmanteau words that serve to lump together angry ideologues tearing down statues and those who would like us to finally begin a lucid discourse about our past, our common history. Discrediting a history graduate, a moderate researcher like Pap Ndiaye will not help unite us. France can be proud of having, thanks to its School – capital E – allowed children of all colors to seize their chance. It is clear that National Education faces considerable problems, but looking at reality is a prerequisite for thinking about what we can do to correct what is wrong. Woke up, did he? “Cool, I’m really cool”, responded already when he was appointed to the direction of the Palácio da Porta Dourada, this temple originally dedicated to the glory of colonialism and finally in search of a shared memory. To spread the idea that, from now on, in the history books, we will only talk about repentance, that all the direct heirs of colonialism and slavery – descendants of slaves or slave masters – will be enemies, that France will be steeped in guilt because its past it’s a lie. Fake news! Casting anathemas on such a respectable figure as Jean-Michel Blanquer’s successor is as unfair, inappropriate and irresponsible as any racism. Pap Ndiaye’s biography should reassure his critics. Revolutionary, he? Certainly not, but a man of dialogue, yes. This is what the thousands of teachers expect, disoriented by the reforms undertaken without them, in a forced march and finally rejected. But the new minister will also be in continuity. Approves ? The choice of your chief of staff – even if that choice is dictated by the Elisha. His right-hand man, Dean Jean-Marc Huart, a friend of Blanquer’s, was number two in the ministry recently. Will Pap Ndiaye be able to boost his brand, build bridges between history and the future?

He cites Montesquieu as the guarantor of his compass.

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