Musings —05.07.2017 12:00 PM—
The answer was right there in front of me, ironically enough. Brilliant.
A vote for the National Front was of course a vote tinged with racism and homophobia. My father looked forward to the time when we would “throw out the Arabs and the Jews.” He liked to say that gay people deserved the death penalty — looking sternly at me, who already in primary school was attracted to other boys on the playground.
And yet what those elections really meant for my father was a chance to fight his sense of invisibility. My father understood, long before I did, that in the minds of the bourgeoisie — people like the publisher who would turn down my book a few years later — our existence didn’t count and wasn’t real.
…the National Front railed against poor working conditions and unemployment, laying all the blame on immigration or the European Union. In the absence of any attempt by the left to discuss his suffering, my father latched on to the false explanations offered by the far right. Unlike the ruling class, he didn’t have the privilege of voting for a political program. Voting, for him, was a desperate attempt to exist in the eyes of others.
“A desperate attempt to exist in the eyes of others.”
Want to preserve democracy, and civil society? Don’t just follow people who think like you on social media. Don’t regard disagreement as treason. And don’t ever think there are more votes on Wall/Bay Street than Main Street.
There aren’t. There’ll never be.