Every man has two countries: his own and France.
You’re probably glued to the TV right about now watching the events unfold at the Democratic National Convention in Denver and not thinking too much about Paris.
Or maybe that’s the reason you ARE thinking about Paris! I’ve been joking for a while now that if the United States elects another Republican, the Democrats on the verge of despair may give up hope and seek greener pastures! Hey, France may be one of them. It wouldn’t surprise me.
Oh, this is sure to press your patriotic buttons. Don’t blame me. I’m just the one uttering the words and telling it like it is. I hear it and see it all the time from American Francophiles who love their country, but have become disillusioned, disheartened and scared of their country’s and their own futures. They see life in France and think about how it differs, how it seems better, culturally richer (if not economically richer), healthier or at least, more fulfilling.
You know what they say…”the grass is always greener on the other side.” And then there’s the other old saying…”Love it or leave it.”
I don’t believe either one of them.
The grass may be greener, but that only makes it a different color. That doesn’t mean greener is better, right? So, let’s say that life on this side of the ‘big pond’ is just a different ‘color.’ And it is different in a zillion ways. Some aspects are much tougher. Some ideologies much more difficult to accept. Some standards are lower, but some are higher. Life is definitely different and there things we like and others we’d like to change. I’ve got a long list of those things to change from both sides of the big pond.
So, let’s take the “love it or leave it” idea and realize how stupid that is! Just because you’re not wild about the way things are going, you wouldn’t just abandon them and give in to the wrongdoings. No! You’d stand up and fight for your rights and perhaps be the leader of change for the better. In fact, Thomas Jefferson wrote in the declaration: “…Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” So, nothing could be more American than DISLIKING it and STAYING and CHANGING it!
By now, I hope you’re having a bit of a laugh. If you aren’t, and you find these ideas offensive, then take a deep breath and think about why that is. My role is just to make you think. These are decisions you must make for yourself.
When I left Los Angeles for Paris (next week is my 14th anniversary in Paris), it wasn’t about LEAVING. Life was great there. The sun shone every day, we had lots of friends and the lifestyle was really good. There was no reason to LEAVE. Moving to Paris was instead about experiencing another way of life, another culture, one that had intrigued us for a long time, that seemed to call to us in some inexplicable way. I would have done anything to get to Paris…for at least a short period of time to know what it was like to be a part of it.
The plan was for just one year. At the end of the year, we couldn’t think about leaving the new life we had created for ourselves. We made lots of new friends who were very much like us. The city is perpetually beautiful. Dining out became an exciting adventure with every meal. It was a cultural and bureaucratic challenge that toughened us up. We learned another language. We discovered new places and new ideas. And it broadened us in every sense of the word. Then we looked back at the other side of the pond and saw it from a new and different perspective. No, the grass wasn’t any greener — it was just a different color.
So, one year has turned into 14…with lots of hurdles and road blocks, I might add. It isn’t perfect. There are lots of things NOT TO LOVE, but I wouldn’t dream of LEAVING it. It was Jefferson who also said, “Every man has two countries: his own and France.”
May the best man win…and may the U.S. of A. prosper…and may all those who want to make the decisions for themselves…come to Paris.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris