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The event that has been accomplished, of course, is President Emmanuel Macron's plan to obtain a majority in the National Assembly.Another accomplishment was the record-high abstention rate: 57 percent of French voters disdained the rare and precious privilege of voting, a privilege invented several centuries ago by men who believed in deliberation, reason and enlightenment.I cannot help but wonder, in the aftermath of France's "Abstention Sunday," whether the sound we hear is not the seizing up of this splendid, subtle machine.I wonder, too, if we are not nearing the end of a process of dissolution that now threatens to turn the abstraction of "the people" irreversibly into a fiction, one nearly impossible to imagine (let alone put a face to) and even more difficult to believe. I wonder if the satisfaction of being a people – as invented by the first Europeans and Americans, reinvented by the French celebrants of national unity on July 14, 1790, and celebrated by the French historian and poet Michelet – is not becoming a thing of the past.Such is the true revolution toward which Macron and his parliamentary majority will have to work in France.No single individual, nor several, nor even an overwhelming majority can accomplish it. What will be needed is the general will – no longer just individual or collective, but truly general – of the Republic of France.
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