Sunday, November 4, 2012

Have you read it?


"Have you read it?" Remi charged into the room after having read an article in Le Monde. This was quite a while back. "What?" I answered sleepily while looking over yet another design blog. "Romney's platform, have you read it?" "Well, sure I know the key points...the talking points," I stammered and felt an embarrassed blush rise on my cheeks. For the next five minutes, he went through the list in a rapid-fire French, leaving me grasping to catch up. Because a lot of it was new to me. 

You see, for me it was already a done deal that I would vote for Barack Obama for reasons that are personal to me, just as I had decided that I would not vote for Mitt Romney for reasons that are also. But I realized that it shouldn't be that, a given. Not for something as critical to my home country and the world as this election. There is far, far too much at stake.

So, for my many American friends out there, I will ask, "Have you actually read the platforms?" Even if you have very strong feelings about the "other" candidate(s)? Even if you have already decided? If not and you are so inclined, here are links to the central candidates platforms:

Mitt Romney -Issues

Barack Obama -Issues

And don't forget the Green Party candidate (who, I must say, hasn't received one iota of press in France):
Jill Stein -Issues

I have thought for months, literally, about whether to write a post about the upcoming election. I know that I may lose readers simply by stating that I am voting for Barack Obama, despite the willingness to "agree to disagree" which I so very much appreciate. The journalist in me felt that, as an American living overseas who has had the good fortune to travel extensively, I had perspectives that might be of interest and that it was my duty as a transparent writer to share them. Well, I have finally decided that I am not going to go into polemics any more than that. We are divided enough already. There is a reason why the French say, "Never speak politics at the table!" We all have our opinions, for many of us they are strong ones, so I will scale this down to communicate the two things that truly matter to me: to simply encourage those of you that haven't voted yet to be certain that your choice is a well-informed one and by all means, no matter what, please go out and vote next Tuesday! Your voice counts. Yes, even if you live in a state where the electoral votes have been "decided." We are all responsible for the outcome of this election and the world is waiting with baited breath...

Friends, I have been as respectful here as possible and I hope that you will show me the same courtesy in the comments section. For my non-American friends, thank you for your patience and to everyone, I will be back to my regular Frenchified posts next week! 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead...

N.B. When I woke up this morning, I saw that this post had mysteriously disappeared! I have no idea what that is about but here it is again and my sincere apologies for the double notifications.













51 comments:

  1. Bravo, Sister! There is nothing wrong with politely stating your opinion, and your readers all know and treasure your honesty. Crossed fingers for Tuesday! (and looking forward to 2 weeks from election day very very very much!).

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  2. I see nothing wrong with stating your opinion and I don't see why you would lose readers. Personally I'll be happy once the whole thing is over so the political signs that have multipled like bunnies on every street corner disappear.

    Enjoy your weekend Heather!
    XXX
    Debra~

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  3. I don't see why you should lose readers either simply by stating your opinion after all that is part of the democratic process. What happens in the US affects the whole world so thank you for including these links it will certainly help my understanding of the situation.

    Have a fabulous weekend Heather.
    XXX

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  4. I won't be disappointed no matter who wins. I will be sad if Obama becomes a one term president because he's America's first racial mix person to have that position.
    However, America needs a person to run this country out of the mess all the parties have had a hand in creating. Romney does what he does well, and I want him to do well for America. I won't be going back to vote for Obama again.

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  5. Being literally in the dark with no power for the past week, I have missed out on the political dramas, and focused on business survival rather than politics. In France, I vote conservative as I do not believe in crippling heavy taxation,but in America, my social conscience always let me to vote for a democratic ticket. Not this time, our country is in a recession with a frightening money spending that has not even shown any interest in small businesses, the lobbyists,wall street seem to be dictating the political financial policies.
    This time, I am going to think about my small business and vote with my business conscience.

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  6. There is nothing wrong with being honest about your preference. The important thing is for the Americans to go out there to Vote this coming Tuesday! The politicians cannot solve their country's problems alone. Bonne Weekend!

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  7. One of the nice things about being out of the United States in October was avoiding the backstabbing, advertisements and Robo calls that our elections seem to generate. It was interesting though trying to explain our system to others we met along the way. One couple was aghast that our advertisements attack individuals and not party platforms. Another just couldn't understand our Electoral Votes system that could result in a candidate being chosen by the majority of the people but the other candidate becoming president because of a handful of votes cast by a handful of people who 'represent' us. It is good to travel and see the US through the eyes of those in other countries.

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  8. Good for you for sharing your opinions. After 5 years as a non-residents of Canada, Canadians loose their right to vote. Use it wisely.

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  9. Bonjour Heather. As a French and an American citizen, I have the privilege of voting in both countries. I live in a liberal section of Washington state (near Seattle,) and like many friends of mine, I am hoping President Obama gets re-elected on Tuesday. I find electors (both in France and in the US,) an impatient lot, especially in a time of crisis. You pick a guy. You stick with the guy; at least for a reasonable amount of time, so he gets a chance to accomplish *something* One thing is for sure, you could not pay me enough to be a world leader these days. I loved your comment about the French not discussing politics at the table. I can't recall a single family gathering when my relatives did not end up arguing over politics! :-) People would even storm off and leave the table before the meal was over... and forgot all about it afterwards. We always blamed it on our Mediterranean roots. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

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  10. Bravo, Heather! I have to agree with Véronique above that I have passed very few meals in France without discussing politics ;) Thanks for expressing your thoughts in such a careful and considerate way. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Tuesday.)

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  11. Heather, Great post. Thanks for helping us all become better informed.

    Like many of us here in the states, I am looking forward to the end of the election, but, like you, awaiting the results with baited breath.

    xo

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  12. Even if I disagreed with your choice of candidate (which I don't), I certainly wouldn't take offense to this post. My husband and I are voting for different candidates and don't always agree on local/State measures but we are able to have civil, calm discussions which I find very helpful. It's good to look at both sides, as you write. I'll just be glad when next Tuesday is past us and I stop getting all the political phone calls. And I don't even live in a swing State!

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  13. Good for you, Heahter, for sharing your opinion, and more importantly for encouraging everyone to vote. It's easy to get weary in all the noise of the campaign, but what an amazing thing the right to vote is. And a responsibility. My mail-in ballot will get filled in this weekend, and I'll be voting for Obama, among with many, many other important initiatives in our state.
    Holding my breath 'til Tuesday...

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  14. You heard it here, first, Heather. My husband and I both voted for Jill Stein. We are incensed at her recent arrest in Texas and wonder what in hell it's going to take for our country to rouse out of its unprincipled murk. :(

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    1. I read a little bit about her arrest and it smells so much like a political arrest to me. If the paper was correct, she and some helpers were taking refreshments to protesters. My political affiliation is of another party, as a woman, I have a lot of respect for Jill Stein.

      xx
      Amelia

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    2. She was not only arrested for simply bringing food to protesters but when she tried to get air time at the debates, she and her running mate were detained at an undisclosed location with plastic restraints on their arms for eight hours.

      Tell me that's justice.

      (Sorry, H. Don't mean to spew all over your lovely blog but the indignation some of us are feeling sometimes gets us to the boiling point.)

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    3. Spew away, Suze. And feel free to include links too...

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  15. Brava Heather for your courage to bring this issue up in your blog. On Tuesday, among the republican majority in this state, I'll be at my precinct casting my ballot for Obama. Someone mentioned the Electoral College and it makes me wonder...without a composite major in history and political science, how long would it takes me to understand its role in choosing the president. As a naturalized citizen, the right to vote is precious. I hope everyone will come out and vote on Tuesday.

    Bon weekend!

    Amelia

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  16. We all have our opinions and we must all make our choices. Elections are coming up here too, sometimes next year, and I am already tired of all the debating. Sometimes I think that if all politicians were women, the world would be a much better place. Men in politics are too power-hungry and greedy. That's my opinion :) Oh, and since this is your blog, you can write and say what you wish and everyone can take it as they will.

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  17. thank you all Obama voters you will take this country down the road that France is on now....Not a pretty picture , everyone who has any sense is leaving!!!

    Je suis une francaise qui vis aux Etats Unis, ce qui me surprend c;est que des americains vivent en France au lieu de vivre ici ......si vous etes si enchantes avec Obama pourquoi ne pas revenir ici et faire face a tous les problèmes qui vont se developer...et oui je vais retirer ma souscription a votre blog...

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  18. I agree with you Heather. An election is a civil right and a civic duty. I have never missed an election in my long, long life. I am visiting family, but it was most important to me that before I left Florida, I cast my absentee ballot. I am a political junky so I have read the platforms and know where each man stands. That is why, for me, the choice was simple. ..I cast my vote for President Barack Obama.
    Best...Victoria

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  19. You won't lose me!! I know deeply that our choices in the US affect the rest of the world. And I liked your mention of Jill Stein, I find her a well-spoken woman addressing issues the other candidates seem to avoid.

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  20. As a resident of Massachusetts, I certainly know how Romney governs. That is why I am voting for Obama. Obama is expected to carry MA by a margin of 30%. That should tell you something.

    GREAT advice, Heather, to read the parties platforms. People need to educate themselves to see what they are truly voting for. Because you are not getting the truth when candidates change their opinion to fit whatever their current audience wants to hear.

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  21. I cannot believe that some readers might choose to suspend their subscription to your blog based simply on your political affiliation! As the main thrust of your blog is based on your experiences of living in France and your musings on life in general, not to mention beautiful photography and a sometimes poetic style of writing, I do not see that it has any bearing on what your political beliefs may be, as until now it has not crept into your writing! Whether your support lies behind Obama or Romney, has no influence on your reports of life in Arles. I think you were brave to broach the subject and I think you did it with respect and sublety and with a reporter's objectivity. If you encouraged just a few extra people to vote, your mission was justified! It's amazing how politics can separate people who otherwise would have interests in common. I am not an American, but live in Australia, and the ripple effect on who sits in the Oval Office, flows on from the US to France and Australia and all over the world, in the strength of the economy and world peace. Important subject- well handled! Cheers, Heather! Deborah, Melbourne.

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  22. Leslie in Portland, OregonNovember 4, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    Here, here, Heather! You not only conveyed a critically important message (inform yourself well and then vote!), but also provided easy access to an source of information that we all should consult. And you told us about how you made your decision regarding the Presidential race. That has encouraged (in and beyond these comments) the kind of public discourse that is essential to the health of the Republic. Bravo..may we all learn more about discussing politics, and our differences therein, without rancor!! With admiration, as always, Leslie in Portland

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  23. I think everyone has the right to give their opinion on politics and we should all learn to discuss without the hatefulness that seems to sneak in. Casting my vote for Romney-Ryan!

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  24. YOU WILL NEVER LOSE ME!GO BARACK!!!!!!!!!I have already voted!And no I havenot read the platforms....................I donot need too!

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  25. Heather,

    I appreciate your honesty and willingness to discuss something that is generally off limits. This is an important election and my only hope is that people have watched the debates and reviewed their political analysis from multiple sources prior to making their decision. I think it's important to know what side of the political spectrum the author is coming from. Has the literature been written by a liberal or a conservative? It really does make a difference in their interpretation. It's unfortunate that many simply take the ostrich in the sand approach and just vote for a party line rather than the person.

    As I head to the voting booth, I will vote for the person I believe will move the country forward .. I will go back and review Obama's original message back in 08.. Is the government transparent? Are American's more or less polarized? How he will do things differently if re elected? If you look back in history, have presidents done better or worse their second term? Can the man I vote for work with both sides of the political spectrum? I will look at unemployment, the economy, and I will consider the recent terrorist attack in Libya. The results will be close.. American's are not sure are they?

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts:) and enjoy the rest of your weekend!


    xx
    leslie

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  26. Look at the response you have had Heather - I hope all your American colleagues read your Blog and realise that we all CARE a LOT!!!!

    I am normally a liberal voter in Australia - but watching from afar I have to say that I feel with Obama at the helm we have had a fair approach to management of international affairs and having just come back from the USA - things (before Sandy) seemed to be coming back to the level of BUZZ that makes America great??!!

    My thoughts are with all who have had to pick themselves up after the hammering of the last week!!

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  27. Weird goings on...This blog shows on my list as a day ago. Yet, on my front blog page it shows as 27+/- minutes ago. I don't know how comments can follow a blog post refresh.

    As for responses to political posts...I posted twice about being pro Romney (and I am born and bred from Massachusetts). After that, a follower disappeared from public view. I take off topic posts down after a few hours to a day.

    The point is about this election...America's economy has serious issues that can't afford to continue on the same path.

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    1. Hello Maywyn, I don't understand it either. When I logged on this morning everything was gone so I imagined that I would lose all of the comments as well but no, when I republished, here they remained!

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    2. I'd be concerned somebody fooled around with you page codes. But come to think of it, Blogger has a way about doing weird things as well.

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  28. Hello Heather:
    It is quite true that one should do one's homework about candidates for election since it is amazing what one can find out. Sadly, we do perhaps take having the vote for granted rather than treasuring it as a gift that not everyone in the world can enjoy!

    May the best man win.

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  29. Excellent point that is often over-looked in presidential elections.

    This was the first election that I actually carefully read both candidates' platforms, and wrote out a pros and cons list.

    I think it was the fact of being a first-time absentee voter, and I had to consider this way earlier than I would have had I still been in NY. That, and I wanted to make the choice not solely based on the popular candidate, like I did in 2008. I wanted a strong reason why I was choosing one over the other, with a full understanding of both parties' platforms.

    Hoping for the best. On verra...

    ps: I get really embarrassed too when the French know more about what's going on with America than I do. : )

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  30. The thing that incenses me most about the Republican Party is their constant chant of "we won't raise taxes," and many people vote for them because of this pledge. What they may not recognize is that the Republicans DO raise your taxes, at least if you're poor or middle class. Look at the DEDUCTIONS on our yearly income tax filing we've seen disappear and now they want to do away with our mortgage interest deduction. THAT'S RAISING YOUR TAXES. But if you're wealthy, heck no, your taxes won't be raised; in fact, you'll have them lowered. This is only one reason, and there are many more, why I would never support a Republican candidate. I do realize that our country is in a dire financial situation, and all of us are going to have to ante up, but let's do it FAIRLY, and not give the rich a free ride. I think it's been well documented that "trickle down economics" DO NOT WORK. Well, that's my rant for today!

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  31. You already know my decision and I would like to say that Francine has stated beautifully how tragic the economic situation is for entrepreneurial people. I am very fortunate to live in Texas as we have been basically unaffected by the real estate debacle and recession, the state's economy is strong. However, my son is a commercial photographer, with 2 young children, and he has seen his income plummet because his clients (corporations) do not want to spend one penny they don't have to spend, they are afraid of what's ahead as nothing is for certain. Tuesday's election will at least solve that problem. Either we have another 4 years of being uncertain, or we have 4 years led by a business man who understands business as well as mankind. I applaud you for your post, Heather. It is very well done and I love you no matter who you support. That's what's nice about being friends, isn't it?

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    1. Dear "Splenderosa".......that's a lovely, admirable response.

      I really wish more folks in the USA could think and respond as you do.

      thank you,

      David Terry

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  32. There is no coverage of the Green Party here either...not that they have any chance at all, this being a 2 party country, period. I HAVE read the platforms. Here are my reasons: I am pro-choice, pro-civil rights and we have not had a Republican President with a balanced budget since Nixon, and Mr. Romneys' history in MA speaks for itself. The end.

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  33. I would continue to follow you regardless of who you vote for...or who you worship...or whether you are pro-choice or pro-life. I come here for your sweet voice words and photos that together paint a beautiful portrait of a place I love. The world is made up of many, many colors as are people and their many, many views. Labels, generalizations, stereotypes just aren't fair in my view. I voted, I feel good about the man I voted for and I hope our next President is fair and wise and does what's best for our country. Period. PS-And I can't wait until its over; hopefully, people will lose their anger and refusal to listen to a y opinion that doesn't mirror their own.

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  34. Dear Heather,
    We're living - fortunately - in democratic countries where we have freedom of speech. Also, it's your blog and you can say/write whatever and however you feel.
    Congratulation to this post! You've expressed your political opinion very polite and respectful.
    If there is any reader who is not agree and leaving your blog like 'Anonymous' for example, you have certainly nothing lost (his/her comment made me really angry). The world is full enough of ignorant and narrow minded people, we do not need them in our blogworld.

    I'm for Obama like most of the German people! Although he could not full-fill all his promises or better - all our hope and wishes, he 'repaired' to some extend the reputation of America in the world which was really demmaged by the previous gouvernement. I certainly hope that he will have another chance.
    My opinion about Mr. Romney: How can one trust a person who change his mind like shirts, an opportunist.

    So, let's cross fingers!

    Tres amicalement,
    karin

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  35. I will vote for Romney as we need a very big change. Obama wants to "fundamentally transform this country" which I think will be unrecognizable and not in a good way.

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  36. It’s time for the poser-in-chief to exit stage left.

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  37. Hello Heather,
    I'm a new visitor to your blog and i feel like saying bravo for voicing your opinion!
    Also I find it quite pathetic to un-follow a blog just because you're expressing your political choice...this really reflects a narrow minded spirit.
    I'm a French woman living in Spain and i hope Obama will be re-elected. I am not convinced at all by Mitt Romney.
    Wishing you a great week
    Lala

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  38. Heather, I could just not resist to express my thoughts about 'anonymous' comments which all of them seem to me so negative and unrespectful, not to mention for not using the name (who is anonymous????)
    I certainly do not want to use this post or your blog as a politically "platform" but we only can make the world better by good and civilized discussions and changes of different opinions, listening to each other, trying to understand each ones points of view.
    Again - every person who decide/decided to un-suscribe from your blog because of your good post - nothing lost!
    xxxkarin

    Sorry about my English......!

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    1. Ditto, in regard to "anonymous" comments....


      ---david terry
      www.davidterryart.com
      117 E. Queen (I know...how appropriate) Street
      Hillsborough, NC 27278
      919.245.0087

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    2. I will not post "Anonymous" comments.
      I am thrilled The President will have four more years.

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  39. Oh you are a brave one Heather! I keep my mouth firmly shut in certain company (and on social media) because I have found that the political atmosphere has become so full of hateful ignorance. It makes me sad and truth be told gives me a bit too much of anxiety as well.
    And here's a question... if Anonymous commentors are so proud of their beliefs and firm in their stance... why do they choose to remain Anonymous???

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  40. You make a valid point. As voters we have a duty to be well informed about party issues and should be willing to change our vote with a change in party platform and party politics. The outcome of the US elections has a far reaching effect on the rest of the world especially with the rise in power of China on the world stage with its non elected government!

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  41. For some reason I just assumed you were British! Great post by the way although way late to the party...

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Your responses are what makes this blog so special to me. I love hearing from you. Thank you for visiting!

*Anonymous comments are no longer accepted and those left on posts two days after publication or more will be published after moderation. So not to worry, they will arrive and again, I appreciate them all so very much...Merci!*

If you prefer, feel free to email me directly at robinsonheather (at) yahoo.com...