I Hate To Gloat, But...
Editorial written by on Monday, November 14, 2005
It's not polite to gloat. That's a lesson we all learned in kindergarten. And yet, in light of the ongoing rioting and car burnings in France, it's hard not to sit back and laugh.
After all, the crisis in France highlights another valuable kindergarten lesson: Payback is a bitch.
Bashing the United States has been favorite pasttime in modern France, especially since the election of George W. Bush. French pundits and politicians have used every opportunity to lambast America.
The Florida election? We're too stupid to vote properly.
Sept. 11? That's our fault for being a superpower.
The Iraq War? We should have given the United Nations and France another 10, 20, or 500 years to work out a peaceful solution. We deserved to have over 2,000 casualties.
Hurricane Katrina? Bush's fault. This is just proof that we're a Third World country at heart.
It was only a few short months ago that the French media savagely attacked the United States over the aftermath of Katrina. French columnists, pundits, and reporters were practically jumping for joy when they saw the reports of rapes, murders, looting, starvation, and misery in New Orleans.
Of course, we soon learned that many of these reports were greatly exaggerated. But that didn't stop the French from gloating.
"Bush is completely out of his depth in this disaster. Katrina has revealed America's weaknesses: its racial divisions, the poverty of those left behind by its society, and especially its president's lack of leadership," wrote Philippe Grangereau in France's Liberation.
Racial divisions? Poverty? Lack of leadership? That neatly summarizes the current situation in France.
"Despite the economic and military strength it is prepared to deploy overseas, the United States has shown itself incapable of dealing with a catastrophe of this scale at home," reported the Le Monde newspaper.
Again, this sounds like France in a nutshell, except for the part about military strength.
For years, we've been led to believe that France embodied a socialist utopia, where class divisions, violence, intolerance, and economic problems were a thing of the past.
Two years ago, a prolonged heat wave in Europe resulted in the deaths of thousands of people in France, mainly senior citizens. This disaster -- which cost more lives than Hurricane Katrina -- highlighted the country's indifference toward one of its more vulnerable groups, the elderly.
Of course, they were content to blame the whole thing on President Bush, since the heat wave was obviously the result of the US not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. The idea that their socialist paradise could allow so many people to die needlessly under such inhumane conditions was unthinkable.
It had to be an isolated incident.
The civil unrest in Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, and many other French cities now highlights another important kindergarten lesson: You reap what you sow. The seeds of arrogance, hypocrisy, political correctness, and multiculturalism have now ripened into a harvest of civil disorder, violence, arson, and Car-B-Ques.
Worse yet, all of the media spin in the world can no longer conceal the fact that France harbors serious social, economic, and political problems that the country cannot ignore, nor blame on George Bush.
I hate to say this, but it feels good to gloat about France's misfortune.
There is, however, one thing to be nervous about. If France is unable to stop the rioting by a group of "bored, unemployed youths" (as the media likes to call them), then what's going to happen when the professional Al Quaida terrorists arrive?
What will happen when the radical Islamic population of France (and Europe) continues to grow, reaching a point where the country (and the continent) has no choice but to surrender to fundamentalist terrorists? (Some would say that France is already hoisting the white flag.)
The situation could get very ugly indeed. It would be a real shame if the United States got dragged into World War III because France was unable to grow a backbone (again). But since history has a habit of repeating itself, I wouldn't be surprised.