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   Date: 11/7/08

JYA Q&A: Students Comment on Election 2008


Emilie Lerner, a psychology major, reports from Paris

Emilie Lerner (foreground) celebrates with friends at an Obama victory party.

Gate: How did you spend election night?

Emilie Lerner: I spent election night from 1:30 to 6:30 a.m. at Palais Maillot at an Obama Victory party with many Americans and two French friends I brought along. There were multiple televisions broadcasting the polling results and music playing and Barack O'bagels served. There were many Americans there living in Paris but also some Parisians.

Gate: How would you describe the interest in the presidential election where you are?

EL: There has been a lot of interest in the victory of Obama and the elections in general in France. The past month I have read multiple articles in French journals predicting Obama's victory over McCain. The day following Obama's victory I had my French Political Life course. Instead of having a normal lecture about French politics, the professor,
Olivier Duhamel, decided we would use the course to talk about this important moment in history, not only for the Americans, but for everyone in the world. He invited all of the Americans in the class to the microphone and asked us questions about why we voted Obama (it turns out everyone in the class voted Obama, if they were honest at least) and what we think he has to offer to our country. We also talked about the implications of having a Black president. Professor Duhamel talked about
how the French are impressed with our country for electing a Black president because they know that France is not ready to elect a Black president.

Gate: What was the reaction about the election of Barack Obama?

EL: It was a very positive reaction. I put my Obama pin on my coat and people on the streets would stop and tell me how happy they were for our country when they saw the pin. Obama's victory made the cover of just about every major French
newspaper, including the cover of Le Figaro, a very right wing, conservative French newspaper.

Gate: Did you vote by absentee ballot? When did you send that in?

EL: I voted by absentee ballot and I sent it in three weeks before casting ballots in the U.S.



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