Dear French People,

Don’t be like us. Don’t be stupid Americans. Vote well. Love, America

photo: Florian Klauer @florianklauer

Dear French People,

Oh, was I staring? Again? I’m really sorry. I don’t mean to — we, the American People, don’t mean to. It’s just that you’re so damn sexy…and that other thing…the fact that you French people are currently living a chapter from our recent past. Like a dog at the dinner table, we’re drooling for a morsel of that time back, when we didn’t know who our President would be, and still had the chance to influence the outcome.

We Americans want to climb into the TARDIS (already jam-packed with Brexit-regretting Brits, who invented the thing) and travel back in time. But we can’t. All we can do is travel forward, and warn you about the future you may have ahead of you, the one we are living every day, here in America.

You have worries, we know that: terrorism, jobs, the environment. We know. But if you do what we did, your worries won’t go away. They’ll multiply. We Americans might be romanticizing things when we imagine you with your fresh baguettes, sidewalk cafes and adventurous lovers; but whatever pleasures you do have— trust us, they will lose their flavor if your election ends with daily headlines about the freedoms your new President is taking away, the horrible people your new president is appointing to positions of power, the reckless things your new president is saying to heads of state. Suddenly. that feeling you may now have, that you can let government do it’s boring bureaucratic job while you enjoy life, will be over. Instead, you’ll spend your weekends marching in the streets defending things you never thought needed defending. Obvious things, like women’s rights and science.

Americans are starting to accept that Putin wants to give the West a big gaudy Russian makeover. Putin’s plan: shear off NATO and wipe away the EU. Tease the British elections so the Brits vote Brexit. Smear Hillary Clinton so the gullible Americans vote for Trump. Next step, slather France with nationalism. And voila!

Not pretty. Not one bit.

Now we carefree, Coke-drinking, movie-making, Beyonce-shimmying Americans are petrified. Our past worries (jobs, racism, climate change and if we want “fries with that”) have been overshadowed by a Godzilla-like monster. He has staggered onto the scene, escalating everything: Is our President sane? Has he made hate acceptable? Will he drive this great nation off the cliff, and take the world with him?

Here in America, our new administration brings new horrors every day. Each plan is unfurled like this: “We are simply keeping the promises the President made on the campaign trail.” Translation: “Hey, you guys were stupid enough to vote for a clown, now you’ll get what you deserve.” And so, we Americans are no longer sure if our next prescription refill, or chemo treatment, or well-child visit will be covered by medical insurance. We grow more and more anxious that our retirement accounts, drinking water, national monuments, schools, undocumented friends and constitutional feedoms are not safe. When we get upset, one of his henchmen calmly reminds us again, that we’re getting exactly what we asked for.

Of course we didn’t ask for this. But what we did do, what’s on us, is we got complacent about the outcome of our election. The majority of us thought the choice was obvious, I mean soooooo obvious. And the polls told us Hillary had it in the bag. The truth, as we understand it today, is that almost half of America’s eligible voters didn’t vote. And a whole bunch of those who did, bought the scam that the Republicans were selling, and voted for Trump.

Only now can we see that we should have flooded the streets a year ago, when the Senate refused Obama’s right to name a new justice to the Supreme Court. We should have been more vocal about gerrymandering, and the sneaky state laws aimed at curbing women’s rights, and so many other things. We look back before the days of pussy hats, (the days when the word “pussy” went unsaid because we had not yet heard our future sexual predator-in-chief brag about grabbing them) and wish so hard that we’d had Obama’s back more. We wish that we’d fought smarter for Hillary, that we’d gone every extra mile, and every extra inch, to protect the blissfully blasé way we felt about American government.

Dear French People, learn from us: don’t be dissuaded by a late-breaking “scandal” (that’s Putin at work). Don’t let a candidate prey on your fears. Don’t put your country at risk because you want to make a protest vote. You can be an activist after the election, without turning your country over to a demagogue. Don’t do what we Americans did. Voting is quick. Regret lasts forever. Vote with care.

Love, America