Translated from the French

These Americans live in Pyrenees-Orientales: Between Trump and Biden, Their Choice is Made

by Laura Causanillas

A few hours before the Presidential election in the United States between Donald Trump, the incumbent Republican, and Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, L’Independant gives the floor to these Americans who have chosen to tie themselves to the Pyrenees-Orientates region. How do they see America these past four years? What is at stake for their country in 2020? What inspires them about these two positioning themselves for the White House? What are their hopes? They explain.

At the time of writing the lines that follow, the fates of the candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden are not sealed and the ballots are undecided in full view of the tensions that beset the United States, namely the crisis of the sprawling coronavirus and the massive appeal for absentee voting. But one choice is sure: these Americans of the Pyrenees-Orientates have (almost all) made their views known for what will save the soldiering America and her democracy.

“Second Rate”

“The United States has passed from having the status of the leader of the free world to a second-rate country,” Hari Wallace regrets, a native of Chicago and now living in Montescot. “The coronavirus hit us hard, and the Americans are sick, dying, and divided,” enumerates the New Yorker living in Collioure, Jenny George. The scapegoat for the former paralegal and interior designer is none other than the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump. Jean Michel Hoffman, a neo-Perpignanian since a few weeks, further blackens the picture: “The government’s response to the virus destroyed the economy this summer and I think the quality of life in general will progressively get worse.” While the matriarch Jenny George wholeheartedly believes there will be “record turnouts of the youth”, nevertheless for the thirty-year-old Jean Michel Hoffman “the result depends on the electoral college, upon a few states and their districts. More people would get involved in the popular vote decided the winner.”

“Hit by those who stir up hatred”

In the national sphere, “where the majority of artistic scenes and popular culture has dried-up”, for Jean Michel Hoffman, “with the nomination of the conservative judge Barrett of the Supreme Court shortly before the Presidential election,” says Jenny George, and like clockwork the international scene, “with the withdrawal from the United Nations Accord of the transpacific partnership signed by ten countries to counter balance the Chinese influence,” Hari Wallace mentions, the sitting President and real-estate magnate has attracted the ire of the three electors.

Biden “the honest” and Trump “the authentic”

“These past years, I am struck by the number of Americans that stir up hatred. Look at last Friday, a Joe Biden campaign bus was encircled on a Texas highway by Donald Trump supporters,” Hari stressed who, for nothing in the world, would return to the USA if Joe Biden, “an honest man”, doesn’t take the reins of the country.

Where Jenny George, who voted last month, said “100% Biden”, Jean Michel Hoffman thinks “that he represents America in this moment - worn-out, fragile. Most of the youth prefer Bernie Sanders. As to Donald Trump, this may seem surprising but I know African-Americans and immigrants who really like him, but are afraid to say it because the polarization is intense. In New York the people that have met him say he is pretentious, crass, but can be generous, and who he is backstage is the same at the podium. For his supporters, he is authentic.”

“Create Plan Bs”

For the future resident of the White House, many challenges are waiting: “The environment and the changing climate, the education system, the rights of women and of minorities, healthcare, racial relations and eliminating white supremacism in the system, in the workplace. Donald Trump is a disaster, we regret the time with him,” rumbles Jenny George, the adopted Catalonian since August 2019. If Hari, the spouse of the Scotsman Peter and owner of their dog Mugsy, estimates “that a Democratic Senate will accomplish these things”, Jean Michel, in charge of his first film, hopes “everyone in the United States does not depend on Trump or Biden to improve their life, and to begin to create Plan Bs, such as self-sufficiency, in view of the unexpected economic changes.” A Plan B like Biden?

Published in the L’Indépendent newspaper, November 3rd, 2020