Of course, it is up to the President of the Republic to express himself and say what he intends to ask the government and Parliament to do in order to reconcile France. And much of it, perhaps the most essential parts have been, actually is and will be the responsibility of today’s elected officials. They will have to, in a very audacious and quick manner, reduce the injustices in wages, taxes, social, educational, cultural, ecological and institutional matters that have, more and more and for so long, plagued the unity of our country.
However, we must not forget that the elected representatives of yore also have their share of responsibility in the deepening crisis. Those who are nostalgic of the powers they held in the past, as well as those who have never governed, have thus far only called for the worst, hoping to find their chance to have access to the national palaces and the delicious vertigo of power.
But we must not fall back into the trap of waiting for the government to do everything: We will not get out of this crisis without understanding that we are all, or almost all, responsible. And that each of us can do a lot.
We cannot at the same time criticize the current government for its verticality, while expecting everything from those in power. The time has come for each of us, in our own position, to understand that we have no interest in the misfortune of the other, and to do what we can so that France, so rich, finally gives all of her children a chance.
First and foremost, of course, the richest individuals can, without it being required of them, act quickly. For example, anyone who has paid the French Solidarity Wealth Tax (ISF) at the time that it was still law, could make an annual voluntary contribution equivalent to the ISF to NGOs that are fighting poverty or for the environment (if the tax is not restored). Or they could invest equivalent sums in companies working on these types of issues and creating jobs.
The richest companies, which have a turnover of over a billion, could for example decide, without the State forcing them, to create jobs that pay a little above the French minimum wage (known as the SMIC), by an increase of five percent of their current workforce. Furthermore, these companies could also commit to training new recruits in their trades. Or, for an equivalent sum, to increase the lowest wages in their ranks by at least five percent.
Furthermore, the institutions that are in charge of managing pensions could, without it being imposed on them, decide to conduct a revaluation of these pensions, at least to offset rising inflation, while accounting for past and projected inflation rates.
In addition, the local authorities and other institutions in charge of vocational training could make it a priority to train those who are now unemployed or earn low wages in order to prepare them for new jobs, so that they can, in parallel with the general aforementioned wage increases, earn higher pay, without expecting anything from anyone.
Moreover, to the journalist and the regulating instances, the time has come to finally implement strong measures so that the public is no longer the victim of fake news; and that the 24-hour news channels and social media platforms stop conveying insults, slanders and threats with impunity.
Finally, each of us, employer and employee, civil servant or private sector employee, young student or pensioner, yellow vest or not, must think about what we can do for others in this country.
There are already a large number of French people who are thoroughly engaged, through political groups, trade unions and non-profit organizations, and they have generously and unceasingly shown great interests in good causes and for their neighbours. These folks understand that everyone has an interest in the happiness of his neighbour. But we must do a lot more. It is up to us to know better, to do a better job at listening to the cries and needs of the most fragile among us, especially those who do not even have the strength to protest.
It is not a matter of replacing institutional solidarity with private charity. But rather, it is to understand that the future of a society does not only depend on the political decisions of a central authority. And that, the more citizens do for one another, especially by engaging more in non-profits, unions and political life, the more they can demand from those they have elected to do much more in terms of solidarity with those of today and future generations as well.
Today is a moment of truth for a man, in the national palace, and for every French person, in his own position. As such, this crisis is welcomed.