Having a Voice: Debating the Issues
No sooner did I land at Charles de Gaulle Airport Monday morning, when I boarded a train for Nice about 44 hours later. It was just enough time to do laundry, get over jet lag and watch the big debate between “The Donald” and Hillary.
I set the alarm in time for the 3 a.m. start and to see a bit of the lead-up. There is something very special about seeing the broadcast live, rather than waiting for the follow-up commentary and clips of the highlights hours later, even if fighting jet lag.
It was exactly what I personally expected. She was clearly well prepared and in good form: he was put him in a defensive position in which he took her baited hook like a hungry fish, tripping over his own words, saying things that painted a clear picture of the kind of person he really is. For most, that’s the picture they had hoped for, whether it’s the kind of person you want in the White House or not.
I had a chance to watch the debate a second time in full last night on CNN and of course, to see the media and polls’ response throughout the day on a variety of TV channels and websites. Overwhelmingly both the media and the public agree with this basic assessment, so what I say here is not news. It would be very tough to deny that Ms. Clinton won the debate, even if she’s not your favorite candidate.
Everyone in France was watching the debate and the outcome. BFM France ran it all day yesterday with subtitles so the French could see it for themselves, as did France24 in English. David Andelman, Editor of the World Policy Journal and guest commentator on France 24 commentated on the presidential debates Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. in France. One thing for sure, the French have lots to say about it. In fact all of Europe hates and fears Donald Trump very openly. He’s been ridiculed in a variety of public venues including as carnival floats in Germany.
Will this debate make a difference to the outcome of the election results? It’s hard to tell. Trump’s ability to gain more and more support has surprised everyone. One thing Ms. Clinton did not touch on, nor has the media questioned it, but does he really wants the job (?) or does he just want to win the election? Does he really, really want the very difficult and ardent task of running the whole country or just the pleasure of showing he can win? Personally I can’t imagine wanting the job, which must be the most taxing and toughest in the world.
Very recently, I received a letter from a reader and “fan” that is almost word-for-word a carbon copy of others I’ve received by those whose political leanings are on the right. Almost never do these “fans” provide another point of view or an argument for their rightist side that can be supported, but consistently tell me that my newsletter is not a proper venue for political matters.
This one recent “fan” wrote:
“Adrian, your fans enjoy hearing about your life in Paris and Nice. Your success as a business woman is built on your life in France. I truly agree that you, or any other citizen of this world, have a right to express his or her political views, but is your newsletter the proper venue?” In addition, I was told that “your views will not persuade your readers, and they could alienate some.”
Let me make this very clear. This newsletter never voices a political opinion. I report on what I see and hear, perhaps slanted from my liberal view points, but I leave the opinions up to you. If my readers choose to read into the words, then that is their own reality and not mine. My only fault is to point out things about which I’d like you, the readers, to think about a bit deeper.
Sorry “fans,” but my newsletter is the best venue of all for my own expression. I bring to you a slice of life in France, albeit mine. I try to put you in my shoes, experiencing what I experience in a way that you can feel like you’re here with me. And if that means expressing what’s going on politically, which affects all of it, then so be it. Don’t tell me that MY venue is not a proper one for expressing MY opinion.
Very soon we will be launching a new website and you will have a chance to comment directly on the site to voice your own opinion. I am open to all sorts of points of view and arguments, as long as they contribute something valuable from which we can all learn.
This is certainly one of those times when we all need to think a bit more profoundly about our future…for you, for us living abroad and for the entire world. I have already voted (absentee), and so you must, too — in the U.S. or absentee ballot, but don’t NOT vote just because you don’t like either candidate. It’s your right and your duty to make a choice. (See vote.org/absentee-ballot/)
A few announcements:
1) Linda Hervieux, author of “Forgotten” — D-Day’s only African-American combat unit — and their journey to freedom in Europe, will be speaking on Monday, October 3, 7 p.m. at the Columbia University Paris campus, Reid Hall, Grande Salle, 4 rue de Chevreuse, 75006 (Metro: Vavin, RER: Port Royal). The event is free. Books will be on sale by Abbey Bookshop. Please reserve a place in advance (though please do still come last minute).
Don’t miss the other events as part of the African-American tribute this month, including a tribute to Maya Angelou with a screening of the documentary “And Still I Rise” Wednesday, October 12th at 7:30 p.m at The American Library in Paris as well as “The Color Line, an exhibition of African-American painters and segregation” at the Musée du Quai Branley opening next week.
Also, note that the Fondation des États-Unis will be hosting the screening of the documentary film “PARIS NOIR: African Americans in the City of Light, October 19th, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Download the PDF for more information.
2) The costume, shield, sword, and nominating placard that Lulu Lolo uses in her “Where are the Women Monuments” campaign that highlights the lack of monuments to women in New York City will be on view in an exhibition “Enacting the Text: Performing with Words” organized by Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful, Artist and independent Curator opening Friday, October 7th from 6 to 8 p.m. on view until December 17, 2016 at the Center for Book Arts, 3rd floor, 28 West 27 Street, New York, NY 10001.
3) Be sure to join our upcoming Meetups and share them with your friends!
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. I’m in Nice for only a couple of days — to sign the “Acte de Vente” on an apartment being purchased by Americans in the heart of Nice who wish to live in France as well as to visit apartments with other clients who are seeking a “pied-à-terre” in central Nice for their pleasure and short-term rental. Keep in mind that we have apartments for our guests and friends in the heart of the Riviera city for a very pleasurable stay! And you may want to book early for the upcoming Carnaval in February! Email [email protected] for more information and to book your stay.
Leave a Comment