Political radicalism in the family – Protestant Perspectives

Knives are drawn. Not the dessert utensils, round end, mother-of-pearl handle. No. The tools that kill. Two words, three sentences, and the adversary, on the mat, asks: “grace”. Between friends, in families, today the political conversations turn to the drama. Oh sure, the dead at the end rise. “Only hurt” shout the children in the playground. But it is benevolence, self-esteem, sometimes just love that falters when political life invites itself to the table of the French.
“Tomorrow, I receive my sister-in-law and her husband, declares Thomas. Three days of ordeal with NUPES voters! At the other end of the spectrum, a couple of academics, who make it their business to analyze contemporary history, describe Emmanuel Macron as a dictator of global finance, while a senior civil servant Territoriale affirms, during a meeting in principle friendly, jaws closed, fists clenched, that one puts the health of one’s daughters in danger if one does not defend one’s environmental convictions. With all that, China and Russia land, a flavor of June 40 that is only ours.
Political life has always aroused the passion of the French. But for forty years, the idea had prevailed that the laws of the economy should guide the choice of citizens. It had become what the ancients called a doxa, that is to say, according to the definition of the Robert dictionary, a “set of opinions accepted without discussion, as obvious, in a given civilization”. From then on, rather than tearing each other apart to find out how the City should be organized, the French clashed in an increasingly civilized way. Admittedly, they defended different points of view, but these were more akin to divergences than head-on opposition. And those who underlined the dubious character of this order of things, who called for more politics and less economy, passed for marginal people who were taken, tenderness and condescension mixed, for nostalgics for a bygone world.
Since 2017, public debate has once again focused on political issues. Of course, we are used to explaining its resurgence by the Covid and its corollary confinement, by the war in Ukraine today. But no doubt we can consider the election of Emmanuel Macron as a major event in this return of the repressed. By having entitled his book-program “Revolution”, by assuming his will to break the left-right divide, this man with a keen intelligence thought to carry the blow to a system which he considered moribund. Above all, it caused the awakening of a seriously injured person. By the radicalism of his project, the former Minister of the Economy undoubtedly put the political question back in the foreground.
Involuntary victory? Not sure: when you exercise power, you don’t just behave like a technician of the economy, no offense to those who bristle at the personality of the President of the Republic. With a consummate art of rebound, movement, sometimes dissimulation, the Head of State adapted: after having faced the Yellow Vests in debates, finding solutions during the pandemic, this man who was said to be hated was able to get re-elected for five years.
But for the citizens, the Dispute, this practice to which Protestants are accustomed, has only just begun. They had forgotten the risks and the discomfort, they are discovering the power. It is true that family or friendly conversations can lead to real quarrels. We cannot be happy about it. But perhaps we could seize this opportunity to cultivate again, better than the pleasures of the game, the political dialectic. The day after Albert Camus’ death, Jean-Paul Sartre wrote: “we were at odds, he and I; a falling out is nothing, just another way of living together. ” Do not be scarred by words.

Political radicalism in the family – Protestant Perspectives