06 November 2008

Only one nasty comment

That's not bad, out of dozens of comments over the last couple of days, I guess. I don't know who that "Anonymous" was (and I use the past tense on purpose, because the person might as well comment elsewhere), but I enjoyed CHM's comment back about the sanctity of divorce.

I went to bed at 8:00 last night and didn't wake up until 7:30 this morning. I thought: "Was it all a dream?"

And then I turned on Télématin on France 2 television to watch the weather report and the morning news. Somebody was interviewing Jack Lang, who is a former mayor of Blois and was France's Minister of Culture in socialist president François Mitterrand governments in the 1980's and early 1990's. He is also an ex-chairman of the French parliament's foreign relations committee.

Lang, a lion of the French Socialist party, was talking about the election of Barack Obama as the next U.S. President. "Even a lot of died-in-the-wool conservatives are applauding Obama's election," Lang said. "But Obama is a progressive who has said he plans to lower taxes on the middle classes and raise taxes on the rich to finance programs and projects for the good of the country — public works, education, other government services. Maybe these conservatives will now begin to adopt such progressive ideas."

"We are dreaming with our eyes open," Lang said. I'm translating his French literally, but you can see what the meaning is. He describes the feelings of optimism and hope that he experienced on learning of Obama's election to what many in France felt when François Mitterrand was elected president of France in 1981. And it's true, there was an explosion of joy back then, especially among young people. A large crowd gathered on the Place de la Bastille in Paris the night of the election to celebrate. It was comparable to the joy you could feel in the crowd at Grant Park in Chicago the other night. France was "turning a page of its history," Lang said, just as the U.S. is turning a page now.

Lang used the expression "moral elegance" to describe his assessment of Barack Obama, compared to George Bush's brutality. "George Bush has blood on his hands," Lang continued. "I am convinced that Obama is and will be a man of peace and will propose a kind of New Deal for countries where violence has been so terrible for the past few years."

Walt said somebody asked, in a comment on his blog, whether he and other expats will be returning home to celebrate now that we are so happy about Obama's election. Why do some Americans have to see the choice to go live in another country as a rejection of America? Those people seem to feel judged by people who want to live differently.

The fact is, I do feel, or part of me does, that it would be good to go spend some time in the U.S. now, to be part of it all. And that is true despite the fact that I've felt at home in France since the 1970s. And I know that if I lived in the U.S. I would miss France terribly. It's not always easy to have a foot (or your heart) in each of two cultures and countries.


  1. Even yesterday afternoon and evening, I, too was thinking "was that only last night and this morning that this wonderful thing happened????" It's so heartwarming to hear interviews with young African Americans who are now saying that they feel that they really CAN aim for whatever they want to do in their lives. And, it's wonderful to know that we'll be represented now by someone with grace and calm and intelligence and that's what the rest of the world will see of us.

    When I saw that comment about expats returning to the U.S. on Walt's blog, I assumed it was the same "anonymous" who posted the ugly comment on your blog. There are certainly angry conservatives who find their way around various blogs out in the blogosphere purposely to put terribly angry, biting, vicious, misinformed, and grossly exaggerated comments (rants, usually)... certainly nothing like the "moral elegance" of Obama, but clearly much like the stubborn "brutality" of Bush's behavior and words about other countries.

    What's for dinner?! :))


  2. Ken

    I had to laugh at the -ve comment in the previous thread and the question on Walt's blog. Laugh because of the silliness of some and their blind trust in Dear Leader and his dark prince. Silliness because whilst they were all claiming for Freedom Fries in 2003, some neocons were still holding court with their "friends' at their summer residences at Baux de Provence ( several neocons have houses there) and they all even went to Paris in april 2003 to attend the wedding of another young neocon from the Pentagon.
    Blind because they trust the same people who keep telling them the mantra : "do like I say not like I do' without realizing that they are pawns in someone else political games.
    "Whils you the populace are asked to boycott some countries, we ( the neocons) are enjoying our cuban cigars, nice French luxuries outside the US of A because no one dares question us"

  3. Our cat Bella was sick a while back. When she recovered Lewis commented that "Bella's got her stut back." I feel just like Bella.

    It's hard for me not to gloat, especially since I'm a blue dot in a red state. Yesterday I subbed in a bridge group of mostly Republicans who were in a definite state of mourning. My standard response is, "my son and brother were going to vote for McCain until he picked Palin." I started feeling good about the election when SP came into the picture. I still wonder what my bro and son were thinking when they weren't for Obama right away.

    I would love to tell the whiners, "why don't you just leave the country." Ha ha, they really aren't comfortable in the world, are they? I can't say lots of things, but the Internet works as therapy for me.

    After my first trip to France I realized that my life was bigger than before I left my KY home- there would always be a longing for France in my heart. Such is the pain for people who love two countries. Our lives are richer though and we wouldn't ever want to give up the benefits of loving two countries or knowing what life is like in other places in our world.

  4. Such comments really have no place, but the are often dished out by both sides - not just conservatives. I am a conservative, but I have little use for individuals who cannot disagree without being disagreeable.

    As a politico, this has been fun to watch and the next couple of years will be just as interesting from a political perspective. I think we (the GOP) have been relegated to the wilderness. My biggest regret is that the John McCain we saw conceeding the election is the same one we saw before 2006, but he disappeared for two years. I think if he had been himself he would have won. Oh well - there is not much that can be done about it now.

    As for Bush, he has been a disappointment for me. I worked for him when he was governor and had the chance to be with him in small groups. He impressed me as a good person with good ideas. I hoped he would govern the country like he did Texas, but he did not. I think his two worst decisions were Cheney and Rumsfield. They pushed the White House to the extreme right, and the either extreme is not the place where any President should be.

    Now, Obama is going to be my President. I hope that my concerns prove to be unfounded and that he is able to move our country in a positive direction. I think he is a good person that I simply disagree with. He moves me with his speech, and now I hope he can back it up with action that is both positive and practical.

    I would love to live in France - not as a rejection of America or American society but because of a desire to experience something different and to expand my perspective. I do not think the idea to live somehwere else is anti-American. Heck, Americans have been doing it for as long as there have been Americans.

  5. dan, I am happy to read your comments here and on my blog.

    I can relate to your comment about McCain. If the real McCain had run, I wouldn't have been too upset had he won, because he was a reasonable man. But he sold himself to the Neocons, and they corrupted him.

    I understand conservatives, true conservatives. I don't always agree with them, but I understand.

    I'm a liberal, for obvious reasons. But that doesn't mean I'm not a reasonable man. We can get along, and move forward together, if we leave the extremes behind us.

    Of course, one's definition of extreme does not always agree with another's...

    (and why, pray tell, is my word verification for this comment "comie?"

  6. Walt

    Big Brother is watching you :-)

    The word for this post "grabsigg"
    There we go .............

  7. The French author and playwright Henry de Bornier said in one of his plays, La Fille de Roland:
    "Tout homme a deux pays, le sien et puis la France!"
    Every man has two countries, his own and [also] France.


  8. Dan – you are doing what I recently saw another lone Republican doing – respectfully disagreeing. It's a rare thing, and to be cherished.

    I hope the real Obama turns out to be close enough to the Dream Obama that so many people have projected on to him. I am hopeful – he clearly has immense dignified self-belief, and that is halfway to being the real thing, maybe more. (I do find myself using the word 'dignified' to qualify things a lot lately...)

    I think the example of intelligent moderacy he sets will make an enormous difference to how Americans in general behave, how the American media portrays American life and the rest of the world and how the rest of the world reacts to Americans. Susan from Lille, in a comment on our blog had it right I think – it was hard to see beyond W.

  9. Dan M, I too want to be sure that I haven't offended you by my sweeping statement about "ranting conservatives"... I admired your comments here recently as we've all been gushing about the Obama win... you've been gracious, and it's much appreciated. I shouldn't paint all of the angry ranters I've read as conservatives... or, at least, I mean that I shouldn't suggest that all conservatives are rude ranters! It's true that the rants I was thinking of were from ultra-conservatives... but, they were also obviously just rude, opinionated people. Sorry for lumping you in with them!


  10. No offense at all. A University of Texas dicussion board I frequent (which has been filled with depression because of the loss to Texas Tech this past weekend), is full of mean and angery posts from all parts of the political universe. I am just trying to stick up for "regular" conservatives rather than the crazy conservatives.

    I really like reading what everyone has to say here and on Walt's blog. I think it is wonderful when so many are so moved by the political process. Whether you are uplifted or disappointed, it is great that we all care.

    I will say that I am usually not in such a minority as I am here. However, the community that comes together through these blogs and those Walt and Ken list is one that I enjoy being a part of - even if I might be the only McCain supporter in the bunch :) See, that is another good reason to keep it up Ken!

    I will say that I am not happy about Emanuel's appointment as Chief of Staff. He will be a bulldog that will take the fight to all comers (something you wnat in that position), but I think he is a mean and little man that reminds me of Newt. Smart, tough, a leader, but mean.

    My word verification was "refrist" like the former GOP Majority Leader Bill Frist. I think there is something to this monitoring thing.

    Thanks for the wonderful discussion everyone.

  11. Ok, blogger keeps truncating my link to the article about North Carolina's results. So, you'll just have to google it yourself.

    My original two messages were this:


    And, yes, I meant to shout.

    [link goes here]

    Verification: gypaldi

  12. Cheryl, I saw the news about the final results in North Carolina and wrote a post about it last night that will be published this morning. Thanks to you and to Susan M. too for letting me know as soon as you found out.


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