Four more years of French-Bashing?

After an acrimonious and difficult election campaign, the American Electoral System has put forth the proposition that George W. Bush lead the country for four more years. One of the president’s first appointments is Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State. This choice means that Bush intends to conduct his dogmatic foreign policy from the right of centre, in continuation with his current record without the weak, yet moderating influence of Colin Powell.

Washington’s relationship with Paris, with Bush and Rice at the helm, is consequently very unlikely to improve. The profound mistrust at the political and personal level, between Chirac and the Bush team is not going to evaporate nor dissipate any time soon.

Sadly, for some Americans, there is little difference between the political realm and deeply held personal feelings. All is intertwined. The emotions stirred up by the Administration for the past year and half are still very much present, especially those relating to perception of France and the French.

French citizens in the USA, and Franco-Americans who witness to this day the aftermath of this orchestrated French-Bashing campaign report countless anecdotes to us on a weekly basis.

One writer confides, no later than last week: «When my son arrived at the Rutgers University stadium, a group of football fans were chanting: ” F*** France, F*** France.” They had just learned that Boston College would now be leaving the Conference and this upset the fans. “France” was being used in that chant as a substitute word for traitor.»

Anonymous emails still flood our inbox with racist taunts and insults: «Stinky, non-bathing, hairy under-armed arrogant cowards.». Others report on reading anti-French articles on various news sites, or inform us of their experiences on blogs, forums and websites that let Anti-French sentiment run rampant.

Are we going to face four more years of French-Bashing?

Marc Saint-Aubin du Cormier