Tag Archives: Emmanuel Macron

If you can believe it, hope emerges from Notre Dame tragedy

The world is still recovering from the shock of the fire that ravaged the Cathedral of Notre Dame in the center of Paris.

The iconic church’s steeple collapsed. Its roof caved in. The interior was engulfed in flames. That’s the bad news.

However, the twin towers are still standing. The sanctuary’s crucifix is, too. Many of the church’s most cherished artifacts have been saved from the inferno; one of them is the crown of thorns believed to have been worn by Jesus Christ on the day he was crucified.

There’s more hope emerging. French billionaires have pledged as much as $300 million to restore, repair and revive the iconic symbol of the Catholic Church.

That the fire would erupt during Holy Week only adds to the heartbreak as Christians worldwide prepare to celebrate the joyous Easter holiday. Thus, the Notre Dame cathedral usually stands as an iconic symbol of the joy that Christians feel as they celebrate Jesus’s resurrection. This year, though, the cathedral — nearly destroyed by a fire believed to have started because of work being done on the 850-year-old structure — stands as a reminder of hope in another fashion.

It stands as a testament to the will of people to rebuild a cherished symbol.

I feel the need, too, to salute the heroic effort of the firefighters who faced down the flames, controlled the fire and somehow managed to prevent a horrific catastrophe from becoming even more heartbreaking.

French President Emmanuel Macron vows to “rebuild” the Cathedral of Notre Dame. It would be foolhardy to bet against it.

We’re ‘full,’ says POTUS; France, we don’t need the Statue

I hope you’re able to see this blog post all the way over there in France, President Emmanuel Macron.

Donald Trump has declared the United States of America to be “full.” That’s right, the president of this country says we have no more room for immigrants who are “yearning to breathe free.”

So, with that, Mr. President, I want to invite you take back the Statue of Liberty. Your French forebears delivered to this country a marvelous gift in late 1880s. We got that statue. It was dedicated in New York Harbor in 1886.

I know you’re aware of this, but I need to remind others that the statue came to this country in pieces. We had to assemble it on this side of The Pond.

That was then, Mr. President.

Donald Trump is trying to eliminate illegal immigration. He wants to build The Wall along our southern border. The president wants to overhaul our nation’s process for accepting those who seek asylum. In other words, he wants to make it much more difficult for those to obtain it when they enter this nation.

He now declares that we’re “full.” He didn’t stipulate whether he meant “full” only to those seeking illegal entry. I am left to presume that he tossed that warning to the legal immigrants as well.

If that’s the case, Mr. President, our head of state has rendered the Statue of Liberty useless. It serves no purpose. It cannot welcome those who seek a better life in this country because — as Donald Trump says — we’re full. We have no room at the proverbial inn.

Don’t misunderstand, Mr. President. My wife and I are two of the millions of tourists who have seen the statue up close. We both derived great joy in seeing this welcoming symbol. We drew strength from it.

That invitation to send us “The wretched refuse of your teeming shore”? Forget about it! We don’t need anyone’s “wretched refuse.” Trump wants to raise the bar for legal immigrants, too. You’ve heard about that one, right?

And, hey, he knows of which he speaks. Our president tells us repeatedly that he knows everything about everything. He reminds us that he’s the smartest man in human history. I am sure he’s told you the same thing.

I don’t know about you, Mr. President, but I believe our president when he makes those boasts.

My advice to you would be to disassemble the Statue of Liberty and take it home. Maybe you can repurpose it, give it to some other nation that symbolizes the welcoming theme inscribed on the pedestal of the statue.

Oh, but good luck finding that nation.

Let’s knock off the France-bashing

I am not a Franco-phile. I don’t live, breathe or think of all things French. However, I do want to ask the president of the United States to cease with the France-bashing as he keeps tweeting messages in response to criticism coming from our nation’s old and (usually) reliable ally.

Donald Trump fired off a Twitter message that said:

Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!

Macron, the French president, doesn’t like the nationalistic tone coming from Donald Trump. He said so publicly in remarks over the weekend at a ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Trump decided to return fire with the tired refrain we hear about France’s participation during both world wars.

I want to defend the French for a moment.

First, I am acutely aware that French forces were defeated by Germans in both global conflicts. However, I also am acutely aware of the resistance that French citizens mounted against the occupying forces. That was especially true during World War II. French fighters terrorized Nazi soldiers repeatedly after the fall of Paris in 1940.

Yes, the French set up a pro-Nazi government in the southern part of the country. However, the “Free French” forces played a significant role in major military campaigns as the Allies began their counterattack against the Third Reich.¬†Normandy? North Africa? The French fought alongside their allies from the United States, Canada and Great Britain — and the Poles, Greeks, Dutch, Norwegians and Belgians.

One more point, as long as we’re discussing historical events.

It has been argued that the United States of America wouldn’t even exist without France’s money and military support during the American Revolution.

France has been ridiculed over many decades. Do the French owe the United States for helping free them during World Wars I and II? Certainly. The gratitude, though, ought to go both ways.

Thus, the criticism from the U.S. president directed toward the French president is unfair, childish and gratuitously petulant.

Nationalism is a ‘betrayal of patriotism’? Hmm

I won’t be so glib to presume that a leading head of state’s comments got skewed in sits translation into English.

Still, I have to wonder if French President Emmanuel Macron really means it when he says “nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.”

“By saying our interests first … we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace and what is essential: its moral values.”¬†

So said the French head of state.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not subscribe to the nationalist view expressed by Donald John Trump, which apparently was the target of Macron’s comments this weekend in Paris. I fear that Trump’s “nationalism” translates to “isolationism,” which history has shown to be a dangerous posture to assume. It’s particularly perilous in this age of a shrinking world.

However, I do have a bit of trouble diminishing one’s patriotism because he or she wants to put his or her own nation’s interests first. Still, the president’s view that we should punish other nations because he — or we — don’t like their behavior can lead us directly into a more isolated position.

Trump walks alone

Trump has done that with his fiery rhetoric and his scolding of allies with whom this nation owes much. For the president to be so harsh in his view of France, for instance, ignores the nation’s longstanding historic ties to that country. The French stood with us at the beginning of our Republic, helping us win our independence from British tyranny. They stood with us through two world wars and have died alongside our own fighting men and women in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, perhaps President Macron’s own salvo against nationalism and his assertion that it’s a “betrayal of patriotism” is his reaction to what he perceives as mistreatment from his own country’s oldest and most reliable ally.

POTUS gets it back, and then some

Donald Trump has made incessant and often effective use of Twitter during his presidency.

So, when he blunders and stumbles as he did on his latest trip abroad by declining to attend a ceremony honoring American soldiers who fell during World War I, he can expect the Twitter-verse to erupt with criticism.

And it has. Bigly.

Trump passed on attending a ceremony at an American cemetery because of rain. White House officials said the weather posed “logistical” problems for the president. Hey, he could’ve ridden in a car from Paris to the site of the ceremony. This came after he criticized French President Emmanuel Macron before he exited Air Force One and before he declined to arrive in Paris along with other heads of state; he had to arrive all alone, calling attention to — who else? — himself!

But my point here is that the same Twitter tool he uses with such effectiveness is now being used against him. The critics’ results have yet to be determined. I just don’t want to hear any yapping from POTUS about alleged cruel and unfair treatment he’s getting from his fellow Twitter travelers.