Schmich: Paris campaign a thrill in any language

When I saw the news of the Paris mayor's race posted on Facebook the other night, I tried to pinpoint why I found it exciting and why friends with whom I shared it did too.

Because women are inevitably better leaders than men? They're not. Because a woman is guaranteed to improve Paris? No mayor is.

It was just the thrill of seeing another door thrown open, and so wide, to a group that was once locked out of public power.

In a recent interview with a British paper, one of the top Parisian candidates, Anne Hidalgo, a deputy mayor backed by the Socialist party, said she was running in the "French feminist tradition of equality between the sexes — not the Anglo-Saxon feminist belief that women are better than men."

You don't have to be French to share her view.

And you don't have to be male to wage war the way men have since the invention of politics.

"Battle to be first female Paris mayor turns ugly," read a recent headline on a story documenting accusations and taunts between Hidalgo and her chief rival, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, also known as NKM, who is backed by the leading center-conservative party.

"I am a killer," NKM recently told a TV reporter. "Everybody is a killer in politics."

Entirely believable here in Paris on the Prairie. But we're still waiting for the women in a mayor's race who can put that theory to the test.

mschmich@tribune.com

CHICAGO

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