"Oui on peut!" Yes we can! Recently four Parisian guys in their thirties, working in creative industries, met after work for a drink and talked about the state of affairs in French politics and the upcoming elections. One of them spoke on condition of anonymity to NPR.
"We were thinking about French politics and saying that we were fed up with the fact that we all the time had to vote against someone," he said, "and how it would be cool to be able to vote for someone we admire. We came up with Obama. I think the whole world would love to have him as president." Ain't that the truth. America is still in mourning, or it would be if there were time, amid the chaos and din created by the Trump administration. Many Democrats don't even think of Donald Trump as a president of any kind, legitimate or not.
The four French friends, who don't want to see a repeat of Brexit or the US election, or the alt-right hijacking the government, did what they do best; they got creative and started a petition calling on Obama to put himself forward as a candidate in the French elections in May. They aim to have garnered a million signatures by March 15.
"The French are ready to make radical choices. That is good because we have a radical idea to propose to them.
After a phantom quinquennium and faced with the announced failure of the next presidential election, we think it is time to move to the 6th Republic to get France out of its lethargy.
To launch this 6th Republic, we wish to strike a blow by electing a foreign President at the head of our beautiful country. Barack Obama has completed his second term as President of the United States on January 21, why not hire him as President for France?"
The petition is tongue-in-cheek. "It's definitely a joke," said the guy who spoke to NPR, insisting that he and his friends aren't politicians and the petition isn't meant to be a real political call to Obama. They just wanted to wake people up, make them think "a little bit about what we could do differently in French politics..."
After all, as probably the majority of people around the world would agree, Obama is the most qualified man on the planet for the job. And now as France stands on the brink of voting the extreme right into power, the four intrepid creatives wanted to remind us all about what democracy really is; that dire circumstances call for thinking out of the box. And the truth is that it would be legal in France to elect a foreigner.
Obama could only run, however, if he became a French citizen, and that's not likely to happen since, God knows, his own country needs him so desperately.
But the petition's message is serious. And it's just one more real time illustration of how much we in the west do appreciate and recognize integrity, and long for it in government. And we do not want our world to go to the dogs.