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Home/Rod Dreher/A Speech For The American Zemmour

A Speech For The American Zemmour

Eric Zemmour, in Marseilles

Here is my attempt at translating Eric Zemmour’s speech to an American political and cultural context. America does not have remotely the immigration and assimilation problems that France has — not even close. I don’t deny that we have immigration problems, but the situation in France is vastly more serious, which is why I have softened Zemmour’s anti-immigration rhetoric in my version. For those who don’t know, Zemmour is France’s equivalent of Tucker Carlson.

This is a speech that I would like to hear a Republican presidential candidate deliver:

My fellow Americans: For years, you’ve been carried along by the same feeling. It has oppressed you, shamed you: a strange and penetrating feeling of dispossession. You drive down the streets in your towns, and you don’t recognize them. Businesses have closed. Stores are vacant. Your adult children and grandchildren live far away.

You look at your screens and they speak to you in a language that is strange, and in the end foreign. You turn your eyes and ears to advertisements, TV series, football matches, films, live performances, songs, and the schoolbooks of your children. The same weird words and concepts keep coming up. What is this language they are speaking?

Everywhere it’s the same thing: that America is an evil country. That our history is nothing but a catalog of racism, sexism, and homophobia. That people who have a certain skin color are evil because of that. That boys can become girls, and girls can become men. That nothing ever changes for the better in this country. That the things that were normal just a few years ago are now hateful, and that anybody who says or believes these things deserves to lose their job and be driven out of polite society.

You see these things on TV, in the papers, online, and in the workplace, and you have the impression that you are no longer in a country that you know.

You remember the country of your childhood. You remember the country that your parents told you about. You remember the country found in films and books. The country of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The country of Daniel Boone and “Remember the Alamo!”

The country of pioneers and suffragettes. The country of Herman Melville and Ernest Hemingway. The country of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington Carver. The country of the novels of Louis L’Amour, the characters of John Ford, and the verses of Walt Whitman.

The country of the Golden Gate Bridge and of the covered bridges of New England. The country of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. The country of Civil Rights marches and Jefferson’s Monticello. The country of Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein — an immigrant, like so many great Americans.

The country of farmers and factory workers, of FDR and the Greatest Generation, of Eisenhower and Rosie the Riveter. The country of John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart; of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, and Elvis, Dylan and Aretha, of Waylon and Willie; the films of Billy Wilder and Steven Spielberg. The country of “Amazing Grace,” “White Christmas,” and “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain.”

This America was real. Don’t try to tell us that it never existed. Many of us were there. We remember. We remember our failures as a nation, and we remember how we the people made America better, fairer, and more just. And because we remember, we have hope that we can write a new chapter of that old story of our country, in our own time. We will write new verses, but the song will remain the same, because it is the anthem of our people.

This country— at the same time light-hearted and illustrious. This country— at the same time literary and scientific. This country— truly intelligent and one-of-a-kind. The country of the Apollo program and Silicon Valley. The country that invented Hollywood and saved the world from Hitler. This country— that you search for everywhere, but cannot find. No, your children are homesick, without even having known this country that you cherish. And it is disappearing.

You haven’t left, and yet you have the feeling of no longer being at home. You have not left your country. Your country left you.

You feel like foreigners in your own country. You are internal exiles. For a long time, you believed you were the only one to see it, to hear it, to think it, to doubt it. You were afraid to say it. You were ashamed of your feelings. For a long time, you dared not say what you are seeing, and above all you dared not see what you were seeing.

And then you said it to your wife. To your husband. To your children. To your father. To your mother. To your friends. To your coworkers. To your neighbors. And then to strangers. And you understood that your feeling of dispossession was shared by everyone.

What did they do to our country? America is no longer America, and everyone sees it.

Of course, they despised you: the powerful, the élites, the conformists, the woke capitalists, the journalists, the politicians, the professors, the sociologists, the teachers’ unions, the religious authorities, the diversity officers at your company. They told you it’s all a ploy, it’s all fake, it’s all wrong. But you understood in time that it was them who were a ploy, them who had it all wrong, them who did you wrong.

The disappearance of our civilization is not the only question that harasses us, although it towers over everything. Uncontrolled immigration is not the cause of all our problems, although it aggravates everything. That old, good America was a country where everybody, from the corporate titans to the trash collectors, felt they had a stake in its success. The loss of that America, and its sense of solidarity, makes us poorer and tears us apart. It ruins as much as it torments.

It’s why you often have a hard time making ends meet. It’s why we must re-industrialize the United States. It’s why we must equalize the balance of trade. It’s why we must reduce our growing debt, bring back to America our companies that left, give jobs to our unemployed. It’s why we must support the free market, but make sure capitalism works for everybody, not just the favored few. We must convert our industrialists from globalists to patriots.

It’s why we must protect our technological marvels and stop selling them to foreigners. It’s why we must allow our small businesses to live, and to grow, and to pass from generation to generation. It’s why we must preserve our architectural, cultural, and natural heritage. It’s why we must restore our education system, its excellence and its belief in merit, and stop surrendering our children to the experiments of egalitarians and educational theorists and the Doctor Strangeloves of Critical Race Theory and transgenderism.

It’s why we must devolve powers to the people and away from Washington, and from unaccountable corporations, universities, and institutions that seek to control America’s destiny in the name of woke fantasies. Yes, we must give power to the people, take it back from the minority that unceasingly tyrannizes the majority and from judges who substitute their judicial rulings for government of the people, for the people, by the people.

For decades, our elected officials of the right and the left have led us down this dire path of decline and decadence. Right and left have lied and concealed the gravity of our diminishment. They have hidden from you the reality of the replacement of ordinary Americans with ideologues who hate you, your traditions, and your ancient liberties. “Bitter clingers,” they call you. And “deplorables.”

No politician has been willing or able to stop the decline. President Trump saw the problem, but he could not change the system. When he left office, the Democrats held both the White House and Congress, and the woke were more powerful than ever. He wanted to make America great again, but he did not know how, and his enemies cut him off at the knees. If you choose me as your president, I will learn from his mistakes, and will not repeat them.

We need to believe in America again. But we also need to pass real laws that take the bullets out of the guns that the elites have for too long held to the heads of the American people. There is no more time to reform America – but there is time to save her. That is why I have decided to run for President.

I have decided to ask your votes to become your President of the United States of America, so that our children and grandchildren do not know barbarism. So that our daughters are not taught that their only value is sexual and economic, and our sons are not condemned to live in the basement smoking pot, watching porn, and playing video games. So that we can bequeath to them the America we have known and that we received from our ancestors. So that we can still preserve our way of life, our traditions, our language, our conversations, our debates, our taste for sports and movies.

So that Americans remain American, proud of their past and confident in their future, and open to the world because we know who we are. So that Americans once again feel at home. So that the newest arrivals assimilate their culture, adapt their history, and are remade as Americans in America – not foreigners in an unknown land.

We Americans are a great nation. A great people. Our glorious past pleads for our future. We beat the Nazis, and won the Cold War. Our writers and artists have aroused universal admiration. Our scientific discoveries and industrial production made the 20th century. The romance of America, the land of promise and liberty, continues to draw men and women from around the world.

We have known great victories, and we have overcome cruel defeats. More than any other country, America has written the history of the modern world. We are worthy of our ancestors. We will not allow ourselves to be mastered, enslaved, neutered, conquered, colonized. From the cold harbors of New England, to the bayous of Louisiana, to the Great Lakes of the Midwest, to the Rio Grande and the Pacific Coast Highway, we will not allow ourselves to be replaced by people who despise what this country was and who its people are, and who want to teach our children to hate us and themselves.

In front of us, a cold and determined monster rises up, who wants to trash us. They will say that you are racist. They will say that you are motivated by contemptible passions, when in fact it is the most lovely passion that animates you – passion for America!

They will say the worst about me. But I will keep going amidst the insults, and I don’t care if they spit on me. I will never bow my head or bend my knee to them. For we have a mission to accomplish.

The American people have been intimidated, crippled, indoctrinated, blamed— but they lift up their heads, they drop the masks, they clear the air of lies, they hunt down these evil slanders.

We are going to restore America, and renew her promise for new generations. We are going to renew the vision of the frontier, and make it possible again for all Americans, not the elite few, to have a stake in our country’s future. We are going to make it possible again for plain people to make a good living, and raise a family without going into overwhelming debt. We are going to make America work again. We are going to pass the flame to the coming generations. Join with me. Rise up. We Americans have always triumphed over all.

May God bless America!

What do you think?

Below is a subtitled (in English) discourse that Zemmour gave at at cancel culture conference at the Danube Institute this past spring. It will give you a better idea of what he stands for:

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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