As you know, France has experienced violent riots for the last week. While they have subsided, as we celebrate July 4th, I can’t help but contrast America’s ordered liberty and inalienable rights with France’s egalitarian tradition.

As much as I like to critique France’s socialist state, both the U.S. and France enjoy freedom and have made numerous cultural, scientific, and economic contributions to the world.

This is why France’s riots are so troubling. When we look at history, France’s revolution led to chaos and despotism, while America’s revolution created a country conceived in liberty—the first of its kind.

Fast forward nearly 250 years, following our Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots, America had a political and cultural reckoning, wherein our left-leaning tendencies were chastened. One such example is parents getting involved in K-12 public education. Recent Supreme Court victories have reinforced free speech, religious liberty, and the idea that every one of us is created equal. In other words, the BLM riots and America’s 2020 summer of love, arguably, gave way to Americans taking an active role in reclaiming a better America.

However, I worry about what France will do after our current riots. Cities all over France have been plagued with violence. With 45,000 police deployed, over 700 arrests made, and more than 200 police officers injured, the government seems unable to stop it, or perhaps they simply lack the political will and moral courage.

What’s worse, some believe that France deserves this due to “colonialism.” I fail to see how colonialism can cause criminals to set cars on fire. After all, millions of immigrants come to France (of which I’m one) and respect the country’s laws. By way of example, like many North African Jews, my own in-laws fled their home in Tunisia in the 1960s and settled in France. They raised four children (one of whom is my husband) and are grateful for what France gave them.  What a limiting and sad belief to suggest that people, based on their ethnicity or family history cannot respect France’s laws and values.

Moreover, France boasts a generous social system that offers its residents taxpayer-funded health care, education, day care, unemployment, and public housing; available to all irrespective of skin color, religion, or ethnicity.

I’m confident that France’s fifth Republic can withstand the violence and lawlessness. But will the French, like their American friends across the Atlantic, reclaim their country and help it live up to its promise of liberté, egalité, and fraternité? 

In the meantime, crack open a Modelo (or Coors, Miller, or Heineken), and let’s celebrate the greatest experiment in the history of the world—America.

Happy Fourth of July! G-d bless you, and G-d bless America.