No Ban, No Wall, Only Pancakes in Paris
It was only two weeks ago that we marched in the Women’s March on Paris, then another demonstration popped up on the radar — the “NoBanNoWall March in Paris.” Freezing rain was predicted, but that didn’t deter the several thousand people who came to the Trocadero to show their discontentment with recent executive orders by U.S. President Donald Trump.
This demonstration was decidedly different than the last. It was made up of equal numbers of men and women, overwhelmingly younger overall. There weren’t very many “pussy hats” this time around, but we donned ours anyway. The marchers were French, American, British, and multi-national. They had one thing in common: their disapproval.
During the march, I posted a couple of photos on Facebook with no added comments — just the photos. Many responded, but one person wrote: “Good thing you live in France. Maybe you should get citizenship there if you don’t like your present country!”
We’ve all heard that sentiment before. It’s the equivalent of “Love it or leave it.” We who live here left it, but not because we didn’t love it. In fact, the reason we were all out there in the freezing rain is BECAUSE we love it. If we didn’t love it and didn’t care, we wouldn’t be wasting our time. Americans who live outside of the U.S. as “expatriates” never stop being Americans and never stop defending their country. Americans are incredibly nationalistic and gather in tight communities all over the world. Any American living in another country will tell you that.
The person on Facebook who posted the message did hit on what’s really happening, however. Americans are looking for safe havens now all over the world because the “writing on the wall” isn’t looking too positive for accepting who they are and offering up a nurturing and safe environment. Ask all the immigration offices around the world — they will tell you that their applications by Americans have greatly increased.
Until now, I hadn’t thought about citizenship in France — residency was enough. But that has changed. I’m about to apply for citizenship. I need back-up. What if the U.S. bans someone like me? Today, it’s Muslims. Tomorrow, it could be Jews. Next, maybe brunettes or even simply expats?
Emmanuel Macron, new presidential candidate and former economy minister of France, spoke on Saturday encouraging U.S. scientists, academics and entrepreneurs to move to France. “I want all those who today embody innovation and excellence in the United States to hear what we say: from now on, from next May, you will have a new homeland, France,” he said.
He’s not stupid. He sees this as an opportunity to entice immigrants “of the right kind.” I doubt he cares if they are black, white, pink, Jewish, Muslim, Catholic or physically challenged…as long as they have credentials that will benefit France by offering up their talents and expertise. He also noted that his “solemn call” was directed at “researchers, academics and companies in the United States fighting obscurantism and who are afraid today.” He didn’t name Trump in his speech, but we all know to whom he was referring, especially when he further said, “I don’t want to build a wall. I can assure you there’s no wall in my program.” And to that he got big cheers.
Macron knows the fear. And if I sound scared, it’s because I am, too. Too many friends are turning off their TV’s, their Facebook and Twitter and burying their heads in the sand because they just can’t take hearing it anymore. I get it. This past week, just after opening up my computer and seeing the first wave of news, I literally became nauseous and threw up. That’s not something I do very often, and it wasn’t what I ate — it was what I read.
After the march, I headed over to Breakfast in America to speak with Craig Carlson, owner of the restaurant chain, and author of a new book: “Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France.” We commiserated over the difficulties of doing business in France, but we both agreed — we wouldn’t give up our lives here for an easier business environment or making more money. What’s the point of having more money if it doesn’t buy you the life you want? And with today’s political climate, we’re quite happy for the moment.
Of course, things could change here, too — if Madame Le Pen were to win the vote of the upcoming French presidential election. Most of the French say “pas possible,” but we said that, too, remember? And look what happened. Craig had good news for Americans wanting to move to France — Breakfast in America is a franchise. That means it’s an opportunity to make an investment in France, get a working visa and earn a living, all while serving up pancakes! (If you are interested, email me at [email protected] and I’ll pass it on to Craig to be in touch with you.)
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(with Patty & Sharon)
P.S. Kathryn Kemp-Griffin, blogger of The Lingerie Journal, just posted: “The New Pink — Pussies, Panties and Protests” featuring four of us in our pussy hats during the January 21st Women’s March in Paris. Kathryn will be speaking at Après Midi on February 14th…of course! Don’t miss it! For more information, visit Après Midi