If there is a rare quality and needed more than ever in politics, it is heroism, extreme form of sacrifice of self-interest and personal gain, in the service to others. Absolute sign of altruism.
This is most evident in military matters, on any given day of the year, many people die for a cause somewhere in the world.
In general, we have chosen to reserve the word « heroism » to refer to a noble cause, and to use the word « fanaticism » to sum up the motivations of suicide bombers or those committing terrorist crimes.
Heroism should not be confused with blindness, which led the Polish cavalrymen to engage German tank divisions in 1939.
There have been innumerable heroes in French history. Four, among the most recent ones, have now been chosen to join other heroes in the Pantheon of national gems.
It is still common for others to die, known and unknown, in military operations carried out by France in Africa and elsewhere. And others demonstrate heroism through their profession (police officers, firemen, sea rescuers) or in emergency situations (when faced with a danger posing a threat to others, and risking their lives to avert it). These people come to light only if circumstances arise, without previous theory or training to face the situation.
In fact, there are only very rare cases of economic heroism, where a company owner or a senior executive would pursue the necessary reforms to save a company, knowing that he will lose his job in the process.
And still fewer are the cases of political heroism, that is to say, of deliberate choice of renunciation of career ambitions in public service so that the reform plans needed for a nation or a local community could be achieved.
One even has great difficulty in mentioning such economic and political heroes.
Among these economic heroes may be listed the company owner who merges with a competitor, knowing that he will not lead the new entity and will have nothing to gain in this transaction in terms of private assets.
Among these political heroes may be mentioned, Winston Churchill, with the claim for British rearmament in 1938 in the midst of opposition; Pierre Mendes-France steering many cases of successful decolonization, or still German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder embarking on the reform two years before the elections. The French government that will emerge from the current turmoil in the aftermath of the municipal elections, identical or different from the present one, will have to be heroic. It should even boast about it. Turning it into a weapon of action.
After all, this government, like its predecessors extends most of its remaining popularity on the heroism and sacrifices of its soldiers. Now it is its turn to be up to the challenge of heroism.
Indeed, its aim will be a matter of saving French society from the problems besetting it. It will have to assume the immensity of the reforms to be implemented, to control unemployment and public debt. Quickly. And not only decide which reforms, but implement them also; monitoring daily its achievement. Knowing that this majority will lose almost all chances of being reelected.
This government will have to do so without fail. Without trembling. Without shrinking from different categories of criticism: Heroism is also made of determination, precision, modesty and indifference.
Politicians should not fear it, they should instead feel blessed to confront such circumstances: the mysteries of the human soul are such that, in the memory of peoples, heroes never die.