Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Spring in Nashville and Atlanta ... and the French elections

With the weather so erratic, we had warm days in winter and freezing days in spring. Last January, soon after the Holidays, it snowed in Nashville. I was supposed to drive to Georgia, but waited. A week or so later, it snowed again - which is pretty unusual for Nashville. Below are pictures of the snow from my front porch, on the left, and back porch.
But then in early February it warmed up so much that my three year old's Saucer Magnolia (magnoliaxsoulangeana) in Nashville bloomed nicely.
Meanwhile when I returned to Georgia it looked like winter and was very foggy. The woods around the house looked ominous.
Then a couple of days later it was sunny and daffodils could be seen in many Georgian gardens.
Returning to Nashville, spring was gone and it snowed again.
A week later the warmth came back. Trees and shrubs were in bloom such as my Yoshino Cherry Tree and flowering quince shrub.
In Mid-April I returned to Georgia for a couple of weeks as I had to vote at the French Consulate in Atlanta. I could not vote in Nashville as there is no French Consulate there. The blooms on my azaleas were almost gone.
Several years ago my late husband and I found a tiny maple tree, about one foot tall, in our Georgia front yard. We transplanted it to a better area. I was surprised last week to see the tree was now taller than me.
The second tour of the French presidential election was on Sunday April 24, 2022, but because of the time difference the French overseas or living abroad had to vote on Saturday April 23, 2022. The Consulate General of France in Atlanta has jurisdiction over the U.S. Southeast for the states of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North and South Carolina and Tennessee. I already drove the 9 hours round-trip to Atlanta to vote for the US presidential election since I am a dual citizen (and my main home is still in Georgia,) so did it again for the French elections. The Consulate is located in the Buckhead area of Atlanta near the upscale Lenox Mall in a tower adjacent to the Mariott Hotel.
Early on Saturday April 23 I drove to Buckhead Atlanta (a 45 minutes drive.) Already there was a long line of voters waiting in the lobby of the tower. French IDs or passports were verified then small groups of voters were led to an elevator. Once on the 11th floor there was another line. Two small pieces of paper were given, one reading Macron and the other Le Pen. You proceeded into a small booth and placed your choice into an envelope. Then you inserted your envelope in a large clear box. Your name was crossed off the list of registered voters. Voila! Easy peasy. (Click on collage to enlarge.)
I had not seen so many French people in a long time. The French Consulate showed how many French people living abroad are registered to vote. The highest number is in Switzerland - 174,820, a small country the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined. In the whole USA there are only 136,533 registered French voters - a small number considering that almost 200,000 US citizens live in France, which is smaller than the state of Texas.
This is the first time since I have been in the US that I have heard so much about a French election in the US news and media. I guess it was because of Marine Le Pen, the extreme far-right candidate. Here is a sampling of her platform: No more Muslim headscarves in public, to be sanctioned by the Police. All schoolchildren to be in uniforms. Catholic nativity scenes to be shown in all public places and only Catholic Holy Days to be allowed. Generous social services unavailable to foreigners unless they've held a job for five years and if not, they are to be returned to their home countries (bye bye long time Brit and US residents.) Limit French nationality to French born from French born parents only.
Le Pen would pull France out of NATO's military command, leave the Euro zone and reinstate the Franc, weaken the Western military alliance, get out of the EU, make a strategic rapprochement with Russia (oppose sanctions against Moscow) and "away from the US sphere of influence." An admirer of former President Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen copied his MAGA (make American great again) into "make France sovereign again." Her political brochures had showed her with Vladimir Putin; she obtained millions in loan from Russia for her campaign. She told the BBC: "The main lines that I defend are those defended by Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin." Below are some cartoons on Marine Le Pen. (Courtesy Franc-Tireur, Timeslive za, Charlie Hebdo and Irish Trinity News.)
The French Embassy in Washington, DC, showed the French election results per each French Consulate in this country. In Atlanta the results were Macron 87% le Pen 12%. The highest were in Boston, Macron 95.48% Le Pen 4.52% and the lowest in Miami, Macron 75% Le Pen 24%. It was a nice election spring day in Atlanta.
The Miami, Florida, results go with the territory where that state has one of the most extreme right wing government. My friends overseas may not know that lately Ron DeSantis, the Florida Governor, had a law passed, House Bill 1467, which allows books and textbooks to be banned in schools and school libraries. Anyone or a librarian providing "prohibited" material to a student could be charged with one felony per book. So far 200+ books, including classic or a book like "Who is Barack Obama?," have been banned in Florida and 74 math textbooks. When books are banned, students are curious and seek them out. Tennessee banned the Holocaust novel "Maus" from the classrooms and its sales went way up. Last Wednesday, Tennessee Representative Jerry Sexton said he would burn books that were considred inappropriate for school libraries. In 2021 more than 1,500 books were banned in the US. I have not heard of any library book killing a child, but since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 more than 300,000 students have experienced gun violence in schools. In 2021 alone 34,000 students were exposed to gun violence = so, why are guns not censored instead of children books?
There are no answers to such nonsense. But it is springtime, flowers are blooming again, days are getting longer, grass and plants are vibrant once more, birds are abundant, and trees are turning different shades of green. After two weeks clearing the Georgia house I would have liked to visit a public garden - maybe next time. Trees and weeds have grown so much in the backyard in Marietta since I partly moved to Nashville that you can barely see the lake in the backgrouond - see photo on left.
Pine trees have been a symbol of strength, steadiness, resilience and wisdom. Maybe to share such benefit I often sat in my backyard in the sun watching nature taking over the land and smelling the southern pine trees.


Jeanie said...

We're beginning just now to see some trees start to flower. It's very cold (40s) and very wet here.

Don't start me on politics. I'll just get sick to my stomach. So glad Macron pulled it off.

DJan said...

As always, your posts are well researched and beautifully presented. I am so glad Macron was so well received by those who voted. I read that the turnout was low, but you took the time and effort to vote. Thank you!

David said...

Hi Vagabonde, Love the foggy forest photos! Here in East Tennessee our spring has been pretty weird as well, but not as crazy as over in Nashville. I never thought about folks with dual citizenship being able to vote in both country's elections. Glad you voted for Macron as we were also very concerned about the possibility of Le Pen being elected. If its possible, she's even farther right than Trump...with the latter being more self-centered than anything. Very frustrating situation for politically moderate voters... Can't win with either political party! As for the book banning, I can see some books not being appropriate until at least middle school...but to ban them for older children doesn't make sense. They see much worse content...complete with photos or videos on line than almost any book portrays. Banning Harry Potter books is a hoot...and stupid too. I would imagine that 90% of the youth in America have read the books and/or seen the movies. We live in a crazy world. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

DVArtist said...

Hi nice to meet you. These photos are just amazing. You have a nice yard. Thanks for coming by. I am now following you. Have a great day.

Mae Travels said...

It's great to see you back. As always your post is very interesting. We followed the French election closely, but you informed me of several repugnant LePen policies that I hadn't heard about. Racist politicians (both French and American) go lower and lower in their hatred and bigotry.

I was never in doubt that Macron would win -- but I was never in doubt that Hillary Clinton would win in 2016, shows what I know. Your voting experience in Atlanta is quite amazing. Another thing I learned from your post: I had no idea at all about how many French citizens live in the US. I hope you keep writing and that your health has improved recently.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Goldendaze-Ginnie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I live in North Carolina but we've had tame weather compared to all you've been through. Absolutely no snow and, although quite cold we will be really warm soon.
Thanks for the lovely pictures and also for going to the trouble to vote for your country.

Marja said...

Beautiful photos The weather is here upside down as well. It is quite warm but nearly winter here. What a relieve Pen didn't win. Ridiculous about the books That he says that that he will burn books makes me think of the war. The gun problem is shocking and unbelievable that they haven't done anything about it yet Yes guns should be censored!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

vive La France. What is happening in the United States is getting scary. Book banning is a clear component of fascism - what's next, book burning? It is hard to recognize the USA any more.

Nadezda said...

Vagabonde, Spring is cold here too. Yesterday there was a night temperature +2C and I had to close the planting of pepper and tomato in the greenhouse with an additional fabric. I like to breathe the smell of pines, a pleasant, resinous smell. Excellent photos of flowering plants.

Lowcarb team member said...

I love the Spring season, and I certainly enjoyed seeing your blooms and blossom.

All the best Jan

Joared said...

Though we cope with drought our spring has come and gone a few times, too. Love your photos. Appreciated reading about the French elections with specifics beyond what I had known from our news media.

Rhodesia said...

How good to hear from you. Yes, the oldies here get treated well. There are also a couple of bus trips a year here that we could go on. We have done a few but I am not a very good passenger on a bus and of course, with COVID there have been none for the past couple of years. We got a big parcel of food at Christmas when they could not do the annual meal so we still did well out of it anyway. There is still quite a bit of COVID around so the Dr tells us but now most of us have had 4 vaccines, mostly there is not a great reaction. We have both stayed clear of it so far but I think in the end we will all get it!! I am extra careful as I have had pneumonia 3 times.

The ever-changing weather is a problem we have not had any cherries now for 3 years. The last two years were too much rain, this year was a heavy late frost. Thank goodness Penn did not get in but she got a lot of votes so the country seems quite split!

Keep well and I hope you manage to get over here. later this year. Take are Diane

DUTA said...

I'm interested in the weather much more than I'm interested in politics. In fact, I consider politics and politicians the source of all evil (yes, it's what they say about money too).
I've got dual citizenship too. It makes one feel as a citizen of the world, and that's a good feeling.
Your photos are a delight to the eyes!

Divers and Sundry said...

Spring in Memphis and Nashville look much alike :) Such lovely blooming trees.

The popularity of the far right is troubling for me. That Trump has an actual chance of re-election here is downright scary. I am wondering if a replacement for Le Pen as the party candidate would get that party even more votes next time. Tennessee has become such a right-wing stronghold it's hard to remember back in the days when that wasn't the case. Now they're making felons out of the homeless who have nowhere to sleep.

But back to Spring and nature photos :) Your Georgia landscape is so peaceful-looking :) The breeze through the pines must be lovely. We're experiencing record highs here, but I'm soaking it up!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Vive La France Libre! If I were you I would move back there as soon as I could. The United States is becoming unrecognizable, a fusion of Taliban style theocracy and "The Handmaid's Tale." What's next? There is no more classic sign of fascism than book banning and book burning. Hitler would be proud that his legacy lives on in enlightened jurisdictions like Florida and Tennessee. And did I mention mass shootings on an almost daily basis, and lies about elections, and right-wing conspiracies, and old white men controlling women's bodies, a ban on contraception...........

Vicki Lane said...

Thank goodness Le Pen was rejected. You must feel somewhat schizophrenic at times with two house and two countries. Your pictures of the tall trees in your Atlanta home are beautiful.

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