French students getting the “non!” from America
Oy. Seems the anti-French sentiment in America is hitting even student exchange programs, since many of them are reporting that host families are turning away French teenagers.
C’mon, people. This is ridiculous, and it’s stories like this that convince the rest of the world that for Americans, loyalty is a one-way street. If terrorists had blown up the Eiffel Tower, would the _New York Post_ have run a headline blaring, “Jourd’hui Nous Sommes Tous Français!” [“Today, We Are All French!”] as _Le Monde_ did after Sept. 11? I doubt it. (OK: They wrote “We Are All Americans Today” but you get the point.)
I’m waiting, on this 227th Day of American Independence — which, in part, inspired the French Revolution — for my fellow citizens to stop being so pigheaded about this. Stop wallowing in self-absorption, righteous victimhood and pique. Why is it OK for the United States to invade Iraq in the service of _its_ self-serving national interests, but when France opposes the invasion for its own, self-serving, reasons they’re suddenly perfidious, treacherous and an enemy of freedom everywhere? Plus, we no longer want their wine or cheese?
So if anyone reading is interested in taking in French exchange students and teaching them that there are aspects of American culture worth celebrating, please do so. It’s small gestures like this that can heal the rift between two old friends.
(I would take a student in myself, but I’m a single guy living in a _very_ small one-bedroom in Manhattan. I’m barely qualified to have a puppy, much less take care of a French teenager for the summer.)