Qu’est qui ce passe en France?

Ashley Baxstrom: What’s up with France?  President Nicolas Sarkozy of France joined President Barack Obama here in New York last week to celebrate the 125th anniversary of France’s gift of the Statue of Liberty to the US. The statue was originally dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886 in recognition of the French-American friendship established during the Revolutionary War.

Both leaders hailed the statue as a symbol of freedom. “It is not simply a statue,” Sarkozy said through a translator. “It is a notion, an idea, an emblem. It is for all people of the world.” But while the French were proud to offer America “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” (full titles, please), they seem to be having more trouble balancing the values of la liberté and l’éclaircissement in their own country. Continue Reading →

Liberty, the Word

From Ryan Lizza’s profile of Michele Bachmann at The New Yorker:

Liberty is the concept—or at least the word—most resonant with the Republican Party’s Tea Party faction, which Bachmann’s Presidential aspirations depend upon. It is a peculiarity of the current political moment that a politician with a history of pushing sectarian religious beliefs in government has become a hero to a libertarian movement.

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