Friday, June 25, 2004


France Apologizes. One Of Them Anyway.

Look what I found:

“I write these words with a heavy heart. I’ve stumbled into a strange new world, a new consciousness. I think it was the wine, which might have turned. I have emerged from the cocoon. The universe in which I existed is no more. My beliefs, my thoughts, my attitudes, everything that made me me, all were torn away. My heart is heavy for the comfort I have lost, false though it was. My heart is heavy for the role we have played in world events, following a foolish ideology, blinding ourselves to objective reality. I have found that there are strange flowers of reason to match each error of the senses.

I am ashamed of us, and I would like to apologize. A flaw must be acknowledged before it can be repaired. What has driven us? Envy. America does so many things so well, it is almost natural to feel somehow inferior, lesser, not quite able to match up. My eyes were opened, and I realized that no one can be best at all things. The man sitting at the next table may be better than me at many things. I do not hate him. He has done me no wrong, and I wish him well. Why can’t we have this same feeling about America?

America has a huge military. For all practical purposes, it cannot be matched. If America wills it, and wills it hard enough, it’s word is law. We can barely say our word is law within our own borders; just ask the Jews. We do not protect them. We don’t even acknowledge them or the anti-Semitism creeping into our national will. Why should we be in any way concerned with American military might? Can anyone in France honestly believe America might attack us? No. In fact, they’ve saved us twice. Since we know America will not attack us, how does their military concern us? We should be grateful for it. I do not want to be a policeman myself, but I am very glad there are people willing to be policemen. I am grateful to them. So are you, and we should be grateful to America. Some of my taxes pay for the police, but I receive all of the benefits of America for free.

Are we somehow afraid of what America’s military might do elsewhere in the world? Again, I ask you, my fellow countrymen, to look honestly into your hearts. America isn’t evil. America is a powerful nation that does good things. Why should we complain about that? We should congratulate them.

I think that many of us think of America as a “them”. Sure, we may have met a perfectly nice American, but “them” is who we mean when we complain about America. I like to imagine a higher plane of existence. The inhabitants of this plane are sort of astral embodiments, spiritual manifestations of all the nations of the world. I picture them looking just like people, and national interactions on our plane look like personal interactions on the higher plane. When I think this way, it’s easier to personalize our national actions. I look at how our nation has behaved toward America and I am ashamed to realize that I never would treat a friend like this in my personal life. How can we be proud of our nation while this is true?

We must accept our place in the world. On that higher plane, France is getting old. Our national prime and vigor have passed. We have a sort of grandparent place in the family of nations. England is also old, but not as old as us. England’s place is one of a master who has been surpassed by the student, America. Our national spirit is old. We were mighty and young once, for several hundred years, but we’re old now. We can’t do as much anymore. Just as there’s no use for me to be angry that I’m older and diminished, we waste our energies being angry that our nation is old. We should enjoy it. France had its part to play in the advancement of civilization, and we did well for our part. Now we should think our ourselves as retired. It’s not such a bad thing. We might think of ourselves as an emeritus nation. America is young now. This is America’s time. Old Europe really is old, and so is France.

Still, we have much to offer. Fine wine, excellent cuisine, art, literature. We have glorious cathedrals, and even some of the younger ones are older than America itself. We can also contribute on the world stage. We are not a nation that can play a major role, but what we can do, we should do. We cannot just take our toys and go home. Our national pride can be found in doing the most we can do, and doing it the best we can. We feel the same in our own personal lives.

I write this with a heavy heart, but my heart is also lifted by hope, because there is an America in this world, and it thinks the rest of us are worth fighting for. Thank you America. I’m just sorry it took me so long to realize it.”

-Louis Andrieux
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