"Elle vise au même objectif que le gouvernement : faire disparatre le voile intégral mais en veillant au respect de nos principes de droit (...) et à la volonté de rassembler tous les Français quelle que soit leur appartenance", a précisé le député et maire de Nantes. Il exhorte le gouvernement et la majorité à avoir "le même esprit d'ouverture et recherche avec tous les républicains la voie d'une loi qui libère et apaise".Clear? Me neither. It seems that the Socialists believe that you're violating human rights if you tell women what they can wear without raising concerns about violating their human rights; but if you do the same thing while expressing genuine concern and solicitude and a "spirit of openness and experimentation," then it's OK.
Defining the boundaries of the demos is bringing out contradictory impulses everywhere. In the US, Arizona has passed a law commanding police to ascertain the identity of anyone deemed suspect of being in the country illegally; Democrats, while deploring this law, have proposed issuing a national identity card, presumably so that such citizenship checks can be performed on an egalitarian rather than selective and racially-profiled basis. (They might look at countries such as France which already have national identity cards to see who is actually stopped in the subways by police looking to make sure that "papers are in order.") Repression thus wears two faces, one vindictive, the other somewhat more benign. For those on the receiving end, however, the distinction begs the question of the difference.