Iabsurd and despicable aggression suffered a few days ago by Emmanuel Macron’s great-nephew marks an additional degree in the brutalization of public life, which has become a major parameter of our collective reflections on democracy. At the time of the “yellow vests” crisis, we saw an increase in attacks against the offices or homes of elected officials, even against the elected officials themselves, then a ministry attacked by demonstrators.
We saw Emmanuel Macron narrowly escape the anger of the crowd in Puy-en-Velay, on December 4, 2018, slapped on June 8, 2021, then his effigy burned several times and concerts of “cerolades” to disrupt his movements . But such an attack, committed on a young man on the grounds that he is related to the Head of State, is not only stupidity, but also and above all practices of amalgamation which refer to the worst hours of our history.
Beyond the degree of physical violence of this attack, which corresponds to practices from another age, symptomatic of a resurgent form of barbarism, one can wonder about the deep meaning of such an act in the context of the current crisis of democracy. Obviously, this must be seen as an additional indication of this deep anger that animates part of the French in a fractured, disoriented society, distressed by the loss of its moral and cultural bearings as well as by social downgrading and the decline in purchasing power.
excess of honor
This anger has been expressed many times over the past few years, whether through electoral abstention, protest voting or attacks on elected officials, including mayors. It obviously fed on the discontent aroused by the very unpopular pension reform and by the authoritarian method used by Emmanuel Macron to impose it on the unions and on public opinion. But what questions precisely, in relation to the functioning of our democracy, is the way in which this anger, this social resentment, was polarized with unusual violence on the person of Emmanuel Macron.
Is this new? In 1889, General Boulanger (1837-1891), the first populist politician under the IIIe Republic, was already urging the French to overthrow the “Parliamentary Bastille” in order to dislodge Jules Ferry and his family. Since 1958, the entire history of the Ve République is full of those moments of crisis when the Head of State was taken as the exclusive target of the difficulties encountered by French society. This was the case with General de Gaulle in May 68, when certain posters likened him to Adolf Hitler. This was the case of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, represented in Louis XV, of Jacques Chirac in “super liar”of “Sarkozyleon” little Bonaparte and “president of the rich”or even François Hollande, who had become a traitor in the eyes of some of his voters.
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