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Democracy Trumps Terrorism

The people who plan and commit terrorist acts will probably never learn that theirs is a lost cause – that life always wins over death. Although open societies will undoubtedly have to withstand more Manchester-like attacks in the future, it is already clear that democracy will not be defeated by them.

LONDON – As I strolled through Paris the other day, the air was warm, the sky was blue, and I felt like I was in the best of all possible worlds. As always, Paris looked elegant and exuded confidence and cheerfulness. France had just elected a clever, young, handsome, and brave new president, who seemed to match the city’s ambience. Without much bad news to darken the day, I had every reason to walk with a spring in my step.

Of course, things could have been very different. It was just 18 months ago that a terrorist attack in Paris left 130 people dead and hundreds more injured. Last July in Nice, an attacker drove a truck through a Bastille Day crowd on the city’s seafront promenade, killing 86. Not long after that, an assailant slit an elderly priest’s throat at a church in Normandy. And last month, just before the second round of the French presidential election, a policeman was gunned down on the Champs-Élysées.

These wicked acts, stemming from a distorted interpretation of a great religion, did not stop French voters from electing Emmanuel Macron, a man who knows that vigilance requires us to respect all members of our community. To fight evil, we must reject exclusion and hate, and we must not blacken the reputation of a large segment of our society.

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