Well, they just had a big election over in France, the voter turnout was massive and the electorate made conservative Nicolas Sarkozy the President. Apparently, "slightly more than half" has become a "mandate" these days, especially in our Western nations with completely fractured voting blocs, because that's what they are calling Sarkozy's 53%.
I'm so old, I remember when numbers like those were considered a "simple majority." Ahh, the good ole days.
I heard about this switching forth on the radio, and heard that the voter turnout was a historic high for the Fifth Republic. Which reminded me that, oh yeah, France has had like 6 or 7 revolutions or major government re-organizations in the last 200 or so years.
We Americans are still working on our first Republic (Slight Return).
It is times like these I wonder why all the American animosity towards France, and vice versa. I'll never forget a woman in a bookstore, somewhere in 2003, telling me she could never read a book by a French author because "what they did to us."
I was unable to reply to that one. I thought our main complaint was that the French had trouble doing anything.
I mean, I like to pick on a lot the French do (or don't do), in the same way I pick on Florida and Texas. That "same way" being "all the time." I was raised in Georgia, after all, that's really all we talk about once football season is over and the crops are all picked and e'rything. So here is a post where I'm going to talk about why I think there is a huge rivalry in the West between the United States and France. Yeah, click on the read more link, if you want any more of this.
So the French talk smack about the Americans, the Americans talk smack about the French, and somehow we end up calling them 'surrender monkeys' and eating 'freedom fries' while they consider us the biggest threat to world peace. All the while, Germany, a nation that cost the world somewhere just short of 100 million lives to utterly destroy and Britain, a nation we had to secede from somehow get a pass in our national dialouge. We'll go ahead and follow the punditocracy and completely ignore what our 'trade partners' and 'allies' China and Saudi Arabia are 'doing to us' as well.
How, exactly, does that happen?
It comes down, IMHO, to the United States and France being the two main proponents of the 'Republic' school of government. We are the two cats who govern based on mass liberty and participation (in theory), and our rivalry stems from our "in theory" differences.
Like two bad gangsta rappers who must manufacture a controversey to increase record sales, the US and France go at it on the verbal stage, proclaiming the fear the one has for the other, how the other is just frontin' and dwelling on the others' disadvantages without really looking at the whole picture.
Translated, it may sound something like this: < beat-box >
ya name rhyme with dance,
and a silly word like 'prance.'
All you done for the world
is supply some bad fragrance.
Croy-sants and pur-fume,
How'm I gonna respect you?
You da kind of sucka
rip the Red, White and Blue
from my crew.
So I show up to school you,
don't call yourself a playa,
Cause you da one screamin'
My hands' already in the air!!'"
Word. Made that up all by myself. It was actually easier than I thought, so ingrained is my cultural disrespect. I have no idea how France-as-rapper would call the USA a "sucka emcee," so I'll stop here.
But that's what this stuff has to sound like to the rest of the world. Because, like it or not, the USA and France are the two biggest acts in their particular genre of government. Right now, with the election of Sarkozy, all the conservative-pundits-as-bad-gangsta-rappers are gearing up for a week of 'I told you so' style tracks, so we get to hear that on the interweb until Sarkozy actually starts trying to govern, and then it'll be back to bad-radio-normal-programming, I'm sure.
But what I didn't realize when I started writing this post is, if the USA and France are like bad-gangsta-rap, what other musical genres would fit other government genres? I'm thinking Asian 'democracies' are like bad bubble gum pop; any Scandanavian or Slavic nations are, of course, heavy metal; and all British themed nations are bad emo.
Except Australia, they're like that cool band that only did an album produced by an emo musician for better radio play, and then lure unsuspecting emo kids into massive mosh pits during the stadium tour....