France has saved the world! At least, that’s what far too many headlines and social media posts have proclaimed. The overwhelming landslide by Emmanuel Macron is definitely a victory over nationalism. But is it a vote for clear, rational centrist policies?
Judging by what is being celebrated, this is simply a negative victory at this stage in that a bogeyman has been slain. “It could be worse” is hardly a platform for running a government, let alone defining the future. But there is hope that Macron may yet provide the leadership that the world is desperately hungry for – an intelligent and decisive way forward. Time will indeed tell as Macron, and France, gets down to work.
A few years ago, I found myself on Payne Avenue in St Paul after an absence of many years. It had changed, noticeably, and for the better. Shops were clean and bright, people filled the sidewalks, and traffic was impressively bad.
More interestingly, many of the signs on the newly refurbished shops were in Spanish and Hmong.
This process is hardly anything new in American history. A new generation of immigrants often arrives with little more than what they can carry but soon saves and scrapes enough to put a stake down. The first places they invest the rewards of restless work meeting boundless opportunity are neighborhoods like St Paul’s East Side. For those short on cash but long on vision Da Hood is not a problem but an opportunity.
This and many other examples show the real stakes in the immigration ban – the heart and soul of the relentless ability of our nation to renew itself.