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Casting Our Absentee Ballots

Restaurant Joe Allen was swarming with Americans last night, by invitation of the Paris branch of Democrats Abroad to await the Mid Term Election results and view the film “IRAQ FOR SALE – the War Profiteers.” The back room of the 34-year-old American restaurant was SRO and service was challenged, but no one cared.

The very active organization, headed by Chair Connie Borde, holds the American community together with a political glue that has struggled to keep up their spirits in tact the last few years. Last night, the energy in the room lit the entire block along rue Pierre Lescot.

The film is the story of what happens to everyday Americans when corporations go to war and uncovers the connections between private corporations making a “killing” in Iraq and the decision makers who allow them to do so. It further fueled the heightened mood so that by midnight, when election results were just starting to trickle in, I slithered out and sauntered home in the cold damp mist.

Something stirred me at 4:30 a.m. to awake and flip on the TV at which point CNN reported that the House had already shifted power. Later when the Senate turned and it was clear that the pendulum had swung shifting the balance of power in both houses as well as the governorships, tears filled my eyes. Announcement of the first woman Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi elicited goose bumps. Could it be true?

Commentary about why the vote went so left put the opposition to the Iraq war at the forefront, but one commentator suggested we shouldn’t forget that the Katrina disaster had played a large role. That’s when I lost it completely, sobbing like a child as I dressed for the day, thankful that someone had remembered how we had neglected our own suffering on home turf. Ask my friends and relatives living in Louisiana how they voted this election!

My sentiments are much the same as most Americans living here. That is not to say that conservatives don’t live here — some do — but their organization is smaller and they are in the minority. One can feel pretty safe and comfortable spouting leftish leanings in almost any Expat situation here. Try it the other way around, and you could be pounded by your own friends and never be invited back for dinner. (I jest…with some truth!)

There was a strong campaign by Democrats Abroad to get everyone to vote absentee, but these votes aren’t counted until AFTER the fact. On November 27th, the final election results will be announced, but like the Presidential election of 2000, it may be too late for them to make a difference. There’s something fundamentally wrong with this.

Why are we Expats treated like step-children? Just because we live outside the borders of the U.S. of A., doesn’t make us any less patriotic. In fact, sometimes I think we care more because we feel we have even less voice and we miss many things about America while living within a French culture and society. That’s why we congregate on such special occasions, hold hands and hearts, discuss and debate, cajole and comfort our compatriots.

We will celebrate yesterday’s victory…at organizational and private parties everywhere. If you want to participate, be sure to subscribe to the Democrats Abroad mailing

list by emailing [email protected]

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]


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P.P.S. Correction: Paris Photo at the Carrousel du Louvre is scheduled for November 16-19, not November 11-14 as previously reported.


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