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  • Writer's pictureArmstrong Williams

What do French Open fans in Paris know about Baltimore?

PUBLISHED: June 5, 2024 |

What do Europeans and non-Baltimoreans know about Baltimore and U.S. politics? Well, at the French Open recently, a tennis tournament that is attended by people from across the world, I asked them.

The common theme around everyone’s knowledge of Baltimore seemed to be a positive one, focused on sports, and the recent Bridge Collapse. Not once was there a mention of crime or the failing education system. The conversation centered around the Baltimore Ravens and the Orioles, and their impact on sports.

“We have heard of Baltimore,” one couple told me. “I’ve seen it in some movies.”

The conversations were uplifting. They were also surprising, given the volatile news cycles that routinely focus on negative things.

Of course, when the conversation focused on America in general, that is when the discussion started to turn to a darker note. The general outlook on American politics and America in general was that it is “messy” and dysfunctional. Perhaps they’re not wrong, but then again, dysfunction seems to be the norm in worldwide politics nowadays, something that everybody from every nationality in attendance at the French Open is directly subjected to.

While we smiled, laughed, and made small talk about all the dysfunction in the world, it reminded me that maybe we all have a lot more in common than we think.

Armstrong Williams (; @arightside) is a political analyst, syndicated columnist and owner of the broadcasting company, Howard Stirk Holdings. He is also part owner of The Baltimore Sun.

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