The people of France are voting today in a presidential election, which will join the already concluded March 14 decision of the Dutch people and the scheduled September vote of the German people, to define the future of Europe - with or without a strong European Union(EU), or become a divergent region marred by right wing nationalism and replete with anti-immigration and anti-Muslim sentiments.
In rejecting the scare tactics of Holland's right wing rhetoric-mongers, the people of the Netherlands reaffirmed their commitment to the EU in their election on March 14. Today, the French have their say, but the French vote comes on the heels of yet another violent extreme event in Paris, when last week, a known violent individual, shot and killed a policeman during an attack upon a police vehicle on the busy tourist attraction, the Champs Elysees.
France has suffered violent extreme events in recent years and right wing parties have seized upon the occurrences to denounce immigration and to condemn Islam. Yet, the unfortunate events could have been possible even under military leadership.
By the end of today, the French could either vote to honor their long standing position as a humanitarian land rapt in European integration, or they could vote to usher in an untested era of nationalist isolation. Also, should any of the 11 candidates in today's presidential election fail to gain a 50 percent majority, the two top vote-earners, will enter into a run-off election in two weeks.
The German people will have their vote to affirm or to weaken the EU in September.
Like the Dutch vote, there could be a stronger than usual showing for right wing candidates today in France, but as was confirmed in Holland, the French, whether today, or in two weeks, should affirm the continuity of French freedom and sound reasoning that has abound around, over and beyond the Seine River valley for many generations, thus paving the way for the German people to also affirm European unity in September.