France is in danger. In Sunday's elections for the European Parliament, a quarter of France's citizens voted for the worst, choosing the party that was not only anti-Europe but also anti-France. They were betting, not on another policy, but on nihilism, hate, and the methodical destruction of the ties that bind the people of France together.
Marine Le Pen, it cannot be said often enough, is heir to a long line of defeatists, traitors to our history, and admirers and allies of dictators who have been the curse of France. After the vote on May 25, a day that will go down in history as one of sorrow and pity, Le Pen and her acolytes could barely conceal their impatience to do away with our Constitution, our institutions, our treaty obligations, and the entire apparatus of laws and usages that underpin the unity of France as a nation.
Faced with this disaster, which affects people across the political spectrum, the time for wishful thinking in the fight against fascism is long gone. Long gone, too, is the time for prophesying and speculating about "social despair" and the "message of anger" that this vote is said to represent.
The sole response commensurate with the event is for all those who reject the idea of a seditious party pulling the political strings and preparing one day soon to assume wider responsibilities to join hands across lines of party and political sensibility to defend their country.
To deal with the twin challenge of a triumphant extreme right and the crisis that indeed afflicts French citizens, the time has come for a government of national unity composed of men and women of good will, regardless of party, who are determined to put a stop to the fighting between those who believe in our democratic republic -- because, since last Sunday, that fighting threatens to become a fratricide.
This article appeared in Le Monde (Paris) on Monday, May 26
Translated by Steven Kennedy