I live in France, and I regularly witness anti-American sentiments. But I believe that the U.S. is worthy of admiration. I feel close to this country, as if it were a zeyde who would tell me, “I started with nothing not so long ago and look where I am today. Go, go on.” This Yiddish grandfather could tell me how people learnt from each other and, with all their dreams and joys, all their differences and fights, built a vast place and entered into the history as best as one can.
If I could vote in the U.S. presidential election, I would vote for Barack Obama. To me, he embodies the ethnic, religious, and cultural mix of so many other Americans. Obama also embodies tolerance; he has the courage and the merit to speak about a woman’s right to choose, even while 50% of the U.S. population identifies as anti-choice. I was moved the first time I saw a picture of Obama praying; I am not a Christian, but I am a believer who is the result of an interracial and interreligious (Muslim-Jewish) marriage. So I am personally touched by the (success) story of President Obama.
There are so many things that I do not know about international relations or geo-strategy … like millions of people, I look at what is likely to be directly changed in my life. And this is what Obama has managed to do: change lives, for instance by providing better health care for millions of people – including several copay-free women’s health services.
A new American dream
I was reminded that not everything that is “Made in USA” is wonderful when I watched Fahrenheit 9/11 and completely broke down. But I don’t think the American dream is dead. I believe that beyond the myth, it is being reborn.
I cannot find my place in French society; I don’t fit in any boxes. I love France; it taught me everything, it fed me, and it is a beautiful country, even if I had to fight for every single thing I have. This might be part of a reflex inscribed in the collective unconscious, but every time I fail in my efforts to succeed in France, I become aware that I will achieve elsewhere; I look often at the United States like a coming love (even though if I lived in the U.S., I would definitely be part of the 99%). But, for the past few years, when fear, passivity, and discouragement prevailed, there were few places in the world where one could hear “Yes, we can.” And if “we can,” that means that I can, and you can.