Thursday, November 8, 2012

RĂ©elire

Last night I descended the stairs for dinner with my French family. The bunch was not quite yet assembled but the savory smells of the meal and the warmth of a small fire invited me to wait in the living room until dinnertime. Of course the coverage of Obama's re-election was playing on the TV and I imagined almost all the world gathered around their TV's, in China, in Africa, in India, us in France and those in the U.S. watching, or having already watched the re-election of the American president. It is funny how international American politics is, and I want to say that the world perhaps takes more interested in U.S. political movement than Americans often do.
My family slowly collected in the living room, each person with a different comment for me about the election, and eventually came the sweet wine for a toast to Obama and also to my host-brother's voyage which would begin the following day.
I felt warm there with my French family, celebrating an American advancement, celebrating something with me that they didn't have to, but wanted to.
These moments remind me of our global community, the community of humanity that makes us all unified. Whether the world views America as an aggressor or as an ally, we all can celebrate globally a success and we all can mourn, as the world did on 9/11. The key is to seek this global understanding, to have an open mind and an open heart, to feel empathy, and to seek sympathy. So there in the living room of my modest French home I felt exactly that, that I was part of a family that wanted to understand me as an American and also as a person, as I was there in France to understand them as Frenchmen and as people.

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