Today’s post is about an expat’s perspective on what is happening in her own country.
Let me preface with this: I am not here to talk about politics. I am here to share what I have seen and heard from across the pond. (Which, if you want to talk politics or culture, we could totally do that privately. I’ve drawn some interesting comparisons between the French and American systems of government since being here.)
To give you an idea of where I’m coming from, let me give some context. Many of my close friends and almost all of my family live in the Southeast of the United States. I have some other friends scattered in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest, but I haven’t had the chance to talk with them at length about their current situations/cities/state government officials. More context: I enjoy reading the New York Times, Ouest-France, and the Morning Brew emails I get every morning. I listen to NPR and Franceinfo, but I try to also take in a variety of news sources, even if I recognize the bias (I expose myself to Vox, Fox News, HuffPost, etc…).
“Wait, Wait, Wait… What?” My exact words.
I’ve got to be honest. Americans have made me laugh more than a handful of times during the lockdown-that-isn’t-really-a-lockdown and stay-at-home orders that are more of suggestions. The CDC has also made me laugh by how much it has gone back and forth on information that is being dispersed. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt (sometimes) though. I mean, after all, it is a relatively new disease that people are still working to understand. Everyone is scared. No vaccines. Lots of weird symptoms. Et cetera.
Quite frankly I still search for the words to explain my feelings.
Disbelief? Apathy? Shock? Anger? Fear? Sadness? I’m not quite sure. It’s almost like watching a car wreck happen. It’s so horrible, but you can’t look away.
I’m seeing so many people spreading misinformation. Like, sooo many people. Things that are not just a matter of opinion. Straight up false information. No, a mask does not activate the virus in your body…
From what I have observed thus far, media outlets in America seem to be discussing the politics behind the pandemic.
No surprises there.
In college I did a very small content analysis comparing the writing styles and framing methods between French and American newspapers and found that American media is significantly more political than French media. (I can show you my paper if you’re interested.)
Long story short.. Bref, as the French say. Because I love journalism so much, I’m gonna shift the focus of this post to ……
The Rise of Citizen Journalism (plus some pros and cons)
Citizen journalism became exceedingly popular with the rise of the internet. And for good reason.
Citizen journalists are great. Don’t get me wrong. They are important (especially in the age of technology). It’s really a new avenue for people to see more of what’s going on around the world.
Problem is, citizen journalists and even some freelance journalists do not have access to resources needed for good, well-balanced reporting. Journalism requires people/interviews and records, records, records, records (did I mention how important records are?) So yes, we need to see the live videos of people showing what’s going on in their supermarkets and communities. But we need more.
“…Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Thomas Jefferson’s words should not be forgotten in times such as these. Especially those who claim to love our country, I’d advise you brush up on the history of it.
You might not like this but…
This is not “the worst America has ever been.” It is a bad time, yes. I do want nor attempt to diminish the current evils. But please, please, please stop saying this is the worst time ever in the history of our country or making extreme comparisons like our country is similar to modern-day Nazi Germany. Because it was a lot more like Nazi Germany when we decided to stick Japanese American CITIZENS in literal detention centers, robbing them of their homes.
I guess my conclusion is this: Watching what is going on from the other side of the world, I know that I only get a piece of the pie, so to speak. I see a sliver of the reality. The truth is, there are multiple realities being lived out in our country in this moment.
Here’s a little visual to help explain what I mean.
The small portion I do see, however, is very disappointing and quite frankly disheartening. I’m hoping this is just a phase in American society, and that it will pass as quickly as it came. But then again culture and mindsets are not changed quite so easily. The double-edged sword of an idea. I suppose time will tell what will happen.
SOOOO… This is probably the most important paragraph of this blog post: I know it’s a touchy subject. But as I often say, this is my blog, and I post what I want. I take responsibility for my words, so I have no problem with you taking responsibility for yours and voicing your opinions! I also realize I may not be “right” (correct or accurate), and I give myself the opportunity to change my opinions and perspectives when I acquire new knowledge. That’s the beauty of growth and learning. We will not grow unless you also share with me. So, if you’d like to leave a comment, take comfort in the fact I will not respond to debate or argue with you. Thank you for reading.
Got ideas for what I should ramble about next? Comment below!