Hi, Robert!

Thank you for taking the time to pen such a lengthy reply. We’ll have to agree to disagree on the electoral college front I’m afraid — I believe it is an antiquated system that proved obsolete in the last election by failing to serve its purpose. As for playing by the rules, it looks like one of the candidates actually didn’t and got a little help from a foreign power. Had we had proportional representation, the American people would have ended up with the president they voted for.

Also, I must disappoint you by failing to fit the assumptions here. Although I was an urban dweller for several years, I actually live in a small town (around 15,000 inhabitants or thereabouts) that is very rural, with lots of churches and gun shops. As for Trump voters, I have one in the family, someone who doesn’t fit the profile of a typical Trump voter either (immigrant, POC, extensively traveled, college-educated). This person is also one of the most verbose defenders of American exceptionalism I know, to the point of being openly racist and looking down on the rest of the world, including France.

To my knowledge, France isn’t trying to catch up with America in any way whatsoever although there’s definitely a push to encourage people to learn English. This is apparent in the growing use of English words in every day French conversation, to the point of rendering certain things incomprehensible to monolinguals.

As for the World Cup spat between Trevor Noah and Gérard Araud, I believe it is a grave mistake to view French diversity through an American lens, hence the upheaval created by Mr Noah’s joke. When the players themselves are French citizens who tell you how proud they are to be French, it’s not a good idea to rob them of their identity and declare them something else because this is what the far-right has always done — and continues to do — with anyone who has an ethnic name and/or isn’t white, regardless of whether they hold a French passport or were born in France. Yes, it’s a complex topic that deserves more attention, and no, I’m not going to go into it here for now.

Lastly, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed your visits to France. The French are always welcoming to Americans. In fact, we have a familiar saying when everything is going really well: “C’est l’Amérique!” (Roughly translated, “That’s awesome!”). For the longest time, America represented some kind of Eldorado in our collective consciousness.


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