Tuesday, May 08, 2012

France’s American colonies

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 5/8/12

The New York Times has commentators in Paris but not in Texas. It would be inconceivable to imagine a NYTs op-ed voice in Louisville, on the slow-moving Ohio River or Indianapolis, dead center of East, West, South and The Great White North. Or Iowa, like Alaska, commandeered now by Ron Paul renegades. Or South Carolina where the women wear red dresses and refer to Sarah Palin by her first name. As much of the continent was at the beginning, New York City is still a French colony. “Lafayette, we are [still] here!”
Possibly we will always have Paris. Its’ magnetism is immense. We return to Paris again, to drink, like Hemingway, to fight like George S. Patton. And when they come to us as Sarcozy did as he geared up his fight for the Presidency of France it is not to pay homage to the American friend, it is to visit her colony. We live in the shadow of the City of Lights and France’s new president-elect, François Hollande, will soon visit France’s American colonies. 

"You are not going to determine only the destiny of France, but the direction of Europe too," he said in his closing campaign remarks.

But I doubt it. The French have little in common with Greece and little interest in it. As Bismarck said, there is really no Europe. And Greece is not exactly a child of the Enlightenment as France was and as Jefferson’s America was. France has more in common with America. As much today as when Jefferson was studying Rousseau to give form to the forest. A socialist France will have dramatic impact on the upcoming election in America.

As expected, Times columnist Paul Krugman was first to weigh in. And the front page news item in the NYTs calls the change in Paris a better fit for U.S. economic positions: “With the victory of the Socialist candidate, François Hollande, in the French presidential election, the White House has lost one of its closest allies on the Continent, but perhaps gained one with economic policy beliefs more closely aligned with its own.”
I’ll say. But this time it is different. Not all of us are still French colonies.

From Paris, or Berlin, Milan and even unfortunately London, America consists of only two counties, Los Angeles and New York City. The rest is bushes and  farms. But it is that, the in between which is heartland America, which will have the great effect in the upcoming election and the one after that. These states do not look to France for style or politics. And this America is rising to power and authenticity.

A rough sketch of the essential Euro-America states; that is, states influenced by what they do in Europe and states which will be influenced by the French turn to socialism: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida and California. Most of the other 43 don’t care. Theirs is a different America with a different destiny and it will come to clash now as the eastern states under President Obama’s leadership turns back again – defaults is a better word -  to Europeanism.

My grandmother landed here on the eastern shore and for the next 72 years lived within view of the port that dropped her off. That may be characteristic of the millions of others who came with her. But those who continued west found a different America. One that rises now and in 2016 and beyond will fully leave Europe and its American colonies behind.

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