Thoughts from France…

More specifically from Paris, but as most of you know, Paris is in France.  And for the dumbass or two Trump supporter who may read this, no France is not in Africa.

I’m here in France again.  My close friends know this isn’t unusual.  That said, many Americans think the French hate us.  First, let me say that’s mostly not true.  Second, they hate the Germans and the Japanese more.  For once it’s great that America doesn’t come first.  Coming in third may suck, but on this point it’s better than the first two places.

But do the French really hate Americans?  No.  But they do hate a stereotype that is too often true.  Show up here, speak loudly, wear white running Nikes (les baskets blancs), a t-shirt (un t-shirt) and you will be despised.  But show up and try to speak the language, emulate subtle things, try to fit in, act French a little, and you’ll not only be accepted, but also welcomed.  It’s not hard.  And it’s not unlike the United States.

Before we had Donald Trump France had Jean-Marie Le Pen.  Now they have his daughter Marine.  More on that a bit.

So about France, it’s a little different and mostly the same as the ole US.  The French want newcomers to fit in, to be French.  In the US we ask the same, that new comers act “American”.  But the US is different.  We ask newcomers to be “American”, but reluctantly we adapt, change, accept.  At one time the US was mostly white English people (passing by the natives they killed and the slaves that were stolen from Africa).  The idea of America was once white English people.  Reluctantly Irish (“No Irish need apply”), Poles, Germans and more were added.  The establishment fought back, the status quo resisted change, but gradually we, America became different, out of many, one.  A melange of mostly white colors, yet still, a mixture that changed the character of a country.

Right now France is going through something similar,  The poor and destitute of North Africa are crossing the Mediterranean.  Syrians are fleeing war and genocide.  And France is struggling to adapt.  They are struggling for the same reasons as we have:  the newcomers are different, not French, perhaps not willing to accept what it means to be French.  But France, like us in America, has been through this before.  When their colonies in Tunisia, Algeria, and other places won their freedom, France struggled to adapt to an inflow of many who fled seeking a different freedom.

So where does this go?  I have no fucking idea.  I know that we, America, will survive, adapt.  France will too.  And I think the French my be a bit afraid.  Obama was loved, is still loved, outside the US even more than he was at home.  The French looked at him, at us, as an example of what we can be, all of us.  Today I watched a video of famine in Burkina Faso and noted that a women, ravaged by hunger, wore an “Obama” t-shirt.  And I guess we’re a bit afraid too.

So back to the Le Pens.  We, America, were supposed to be the first line of defense, the shining city on the hill, the ones who once again lead the fight against Fascism, Nazism, and more, the leaders who stood against the hate of the right wing in Europe, the Le Pen clan and more.  Yet we failed.  We elected a misogynist, racist pig.  We failed as the first line of defense.   So what to do?  I have only one word of advice: Resist.  Resist the hate.  Resist the misogyny.  Resist the bigotry.  Resist and take bake our place of leadership, once again let us become the shining light on the hill, the beacon of hope and freedom.



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