December 19, 2016

The tenth of July

Today, my thoughts keep returning to something that happened in the small French resort town of Vichy on July 10, 1940.

In that town on that day, the French National Assembly met in the local opera house. By a vote of 569 to 80, with 20 abstentions, they voted all power to Marshal Henri Pétain, then voted themselves out of existence. The name of the town where they met would go on to become shorthand for one of the most hated regimes in French history, a regime which replaced Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood) with Patrie, Famille, Travail (Country, Family, Work), a regime which collaborated with the Nazis and would ultimately be defeated by the Allies and the Free French under Charles de Gaulle.

By all indications, today is going to go down in history as our own tenth of July. I wonder who our de Gaulle will be.