Fleur-de-Lys Frenchnets for All!
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
This morning I stretched “fleur-de-lys” patterned fishnet stockings (I jokingly call “Frenchnets”) over my one-year-older legs while the news on “France 24″ talked about 23-year-old Jean Sarkozy’s nomination by his own father and president of the republic, Nicolas Sarkozy to head “Epad”…and I wondered if anything had really changed since the French Revolution.
Epad is the public body that runs “La Défense,” the financial and business district on the edge of Paris, so it’s a pretty important post for such a young “prince.” The press and opposition parties are calling it “nepotism.” One article in the Financial Times noted that “His rise has added to the widely held perception that republican France is a monarchy without a crown.” And Jean-Paul Huchon, a senior socialist and president of the Ile-de-France region remarked, “At the heart of the matter is a downwards spiral towards monarchism.”
Has “Sarko” appointed himself “king?” The fleur-de-lys symbol of the monarchy made an impression on both my legs and my feelings. Growing up in New Orleans on a street named “Fleur de Lis Drive”* just one block from the levee that broke during Hurricane Katrina, and with the fleur-de-lys being the official symbol of the city, the concept of a monarchy is ever prevalent. In fact, in July of 2008 the governor of Louisiana legally made the fleur-de-lys an official symbol of the state and after Hurricane Katrina, it’s been used as a symbol of grassroots support for the city’s recovery.
One year I came home to Paris from New Orleans with a gold fleur-de-lys pinned into my lapel, only to be chided by a French friend for donning the symbol of royalty in a republican state. The French are very conscious of their leadership overstepping their boundaries and rightfully they should…as the social reforms they’ve worked so hard to achieve are threatened by this little man with so much power.
Meanwhile, our own American “king of the hill” (Capitol Hill, that is, and winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize), Barack Obama, is battling the capitalist giants (private insurance companies) toward health care reform. He’s apparently winning inch by inch, thanks to the support from one solitary Republican, to help push through a 10-year, 829-billion-dollar plan to provide health insurance to some of the 46 million people in the U.S. who currently lack coverage.
Yep, hard to believe, that in the world’s most powerful democratic nation that so many would be opposed to having what the French believe is a basic right for every citizen: affordable health care. And guess what? They achieve it. “King Obama” believes America can, too.
If the U.S. can’t overcome their fears of a more socialized government, then it would not be so farfetched that the fleur-de-lys will become the symbol of all of America and the reigning kings and queens will come from the ranks of the insurance companies who are protecting their capitalist ideals.
Instead of “All for One and One for All.” The motto would be “Fleur-de-lis Frenchnets for All!” Now, that sounds like fun.
P.S. We had a more than full house at yesterday’s “Parler Paris Après Midi.” Read all about it and see the fun photos at www.parlerparis.com/apresmidi.html
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Fleur-de-Lys Frenchnets for All!
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