How Germany, France, and Myself view Trump vs. Clinton Part II

How Germany, France, and Myself View Trump vs. Clinton Part II

How Germany, France, and myself view Trump vs. Clinton Part II

I really wanted to watch the second presidential debate yesterday evening, but I was so tired that I fell asleep the moment it started. When I woke up this morning, I had a simple question: who won?

Lucky me! It was 6:00am on Monday, and I had an hour of free time before heading to the kitchen to prepare breakfast and lunchboxes.

The first thing I did was check Twitter, and then the New York Times and Washington Post headlines. After that, I read the largest German news magazine Der Spiegel followed by the French daily newspaper Le Monde.

All articles had a clear focus on the ugly tone of the debate. The New York Times spoke about sparring in “bitter, personal terms.” Der Spiegel’s article started with the words “It was a shameful show” and a video of “The ugliest moments of the Second Presidential Debate.”

I was also very surprised to see that the American presidential debate made it to the front page of Le Monde and Libération (a leftist French daily newspaper).

How Germany, France, and myself view Trump vs. Clinton Part II
Frontpage of French newspapers the day after the second debate

Back to my question: Who won the second debate?

The Washington Post stated Clinton was the winner. The New York Times was more nuanced. “Trump avoids annihilation” wrote journalist Rappehort, while colleague Alfano said “According to some pundits, Mr. Trump exceeded expectations and showed that his campaign was not over.”

I was not sure after reading the Post and the Times if Clinton had really won. While I was brushing my teeth, I googled “Who won the debate” and found 153,000,000 search results. Even checking the first page would have been exhausting. So, I gave my teeth a luxury treatment and listened to the German radio.

Journalist Sabine Fritz on B5aktuell reported that according to a CNN poll, a majority of voters watching the debate thought Clinton got the best of Trump (57% to 34%). But, when I checked the poll later, 63% said that Trump was better than expected.

Okay, my German side was happy to have found an answer with some figures. I could leave my toothbrush alone and go upstairs to wake up Yann and Pauline.

How Germany, France, and myself view Trump vs. Clinton Part II

During the next two hours, I keep on thinking of the debate. After bringing my children properly fed and dressed to the school bus, I started to check more thoroughly on the internet.

I’m aware that my reading choices may reflect my political opinion. The New York Times endorsed Hillary Clinton a few weeks ago. Le Monde claims to be bipartisan, but its readers are more left. Therefore, I decided to add two other papers more inclined to reflect European right-wing readers’ opinions.

I couldn’t find anything in Le Figaro online besides a 4-minute video showing an excerpt of the debate. (Le Figaro is the oldest national daily in France and a more conservative newspaper with a center-right editorial line.) Since the print article featuring the American debate was a paid feature, I can’t tell exactly what was behind the title, “Trump weakened after outrageous words about women.”

I was luckier with Die Welt. According to Wikipedia, Die Welt is generally considered to be conservative. The German daily had the following headline: “How deep will Donald Trump bring the campaign.” Its words strangely resonated with the Spiegel point of view: “Trump attacks Clinton… below the belt” and “It was probably the worst political debate for America’s political experts.”

Le Monde‘s editorial reflects best how I feel about the campaign

In today’s editorial with the headline “American Presidential Campaign – Trump, a dangerous man,” Le Monde expressed following opinion, which I entirely share:

“Trump has brought the principle of reality shows into the public arena. It’s all about catching attention while bringing us always further to the edge of coarseness . . . He has normalized obscenity and banalized verbal violence in the political world . . . Donald Trump is a threat to the American democracy.”

Some final words

I’m not American, so I can’t vote. I’m here legally, but I can’t vote. No, I didn’t cross the border three years ago to vote democratic because I couldn’t vote then and still can’t vote now!

I’ve held two citizenships. After living for over 20 years in Germany and giving birth to three children there, I decided to apply for German citizenship. Not only because I had spent all my adult life in Germany, but also because after paying a lot of taxes over these years, I wanted to participate in the political choices of my second home country.

If I live long enough in the United States, I may consider becoming an American. My 7-year-old son feels already American. He pledges allegiance to the flag every morning, and he was very sad when I told him he couldn’t enlist in the American army.

My children and my husband’s children are third-culture kids (TCKs). This means that they were raised in a culture other than mine’s, my husband’s, or his ex’s for almost all their life. Will they be second-class citizens just because they were born in another country than the one they may live in as an adult?

I hope not.

However, considering the abysmal depth of the American presidential campaign, the reasons for Brexit’s success, Putin in Russia, Pegida and the AfD in Germany, and the polling success of the far-right party in France, I’m afraid of new wars.

I hope I’m wrong.


Foto credit by DonkeyHotey

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