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Monday, 7 March 2016

Turning Point

Small Hands?
Does Donald Trump End Standards?
By Liliane Clever
[WC News Service]
I had an argument with my brother-in-law prior to the last French presidential election. We had a strong disagreement about whether Marine Le Pen, head of the right-wing National Front Party and a recent presidential candidate, should ever be legally a candidate for the presidency. Pierre was adamant that she should not be. He based his position on Le Pen's vitriolic anti-immigrant discourse, her dubious position on French Muslims, her 'France for French people' (whatever that means), and generally her politics of discrimination and division.

In all fairness, Le Pen has toned down the viewpoints of her father, the National Front's former, ousted head. She has tried to appear to be more inclusive. But Pierre was not being fooled. It was his view that since Marine Le Pen did not support the values of the French Republic (Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity) she was automatically disqualified from being president.
I was appalled! I strongly believe that the freedom of running for office is a basic right and not require any litmus test. In fact, I have signed many lists for many candidates, for any position, from any political party, whether I endorsed them or nor, to support that basic right. Needless to say, Pierre and I, after getting nowhere in our argument, agreed to disagree. But I remained disturbed and somewhat disappointed.

But thanks to Donald Trump, now the leading Republican presidential candidate, I have come to better understand Pierre's position. How could anyone spewing racist and sexist remarks, someone who obviously does not agree with (or does not understand the Bill of Rights), someone using people's bigotry and fears to satisfy his own ambitions, someone willing to say just about anything (the more outrageous, the better) to get votes -- how could this person be able to have the privilege to sit in the White House and preside over us?

So, who's right? Should we have a 'litmus test'? After all, we hear that expression used over and over again when it comes to the nomination of Supreme Court justices. Should we endorse a basic protocol with guidelines about what can and cannot be said? Should we require relevant experience with positive results, as for any other job? Or, should it be a free for all, as it is now, and let the people decide?

Only one thing is sure: This election could be a turning point.