Your taste of life in Paris and France January 23, 2012 • Paris, France
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When Americans first come to France they think that because the people pretty much look like them, dress like them and behave like them, that they think like them.
But they don't. Trust me. They may be looking at exactly the same image, but what might look like 'black' and 'white' to us looks like 'shades of gray' to them. This is where we all fall into the cultural abyss of misunderstandings.
For example, the word "socialism" is a dirty word in the U.S. just like "money" is in France. It's a funny dichotomy that two nations which can look so alike in many ways, can actually be so different.
Sarkosy and Hollande - afp.com/Fred DufourLast night, socialist presidential candidate François Hollande spoke at a campaign rally of 20,000 supporters just outside Paris declaring war on the world of finance. In essence, his rhetoric is that "money is evil" and vowed to institute regulations that would control the financial industry and limit profits and earnings. He even vowed to cut his own pay by 30% if elected! Have you ever heard of anyone wanting to earn LESS money?
In the U.S., we admire those that 'succeed' and become wealthy through their hard work, determination and smarts. In France, those that exhibit these 'assets' are seen as 'greedy' and 'predatory'...like the bad 'rep' UMP party President Nicolas Sarkozy is getting from Hollande.
Another promise Hollande made was to give foreigners the right to vote in local elections "as a way of better integrating France's large immigrant communities."
This cracks me up -- that he thinks foreigners living in France will be happy with menial jobs paying high taxes without an opportunity to better themselves and earn more money? The foreigners I see come from entrepreneurial cultures and are very willing to "work more, earn more" in "Sarko" style...the Chinese, the North Africans, the Anglo-Saxons...they are the ones opening their own businesses, employing their own kind, staying open longer hours and doing the drudge work the French don't want to do. Isn't that what immigrants do everywhere they go? (And thank goodness for that.)
Hollande forgot to mention last night that the Socialist Party's 'brilliant' 35-hour work week has been a big disaster. Was that not the dumbest idea anyone ever thought of?: work less, earn the same, so companies need to hire more people to accomplish their tasks, therefore earning less taxable income and having less ability to hire. Any capitalist could have told them it would never work. What were they thinking?
I can tell you. As he said in the speech, "I love people, while others are fascinated by money -- referring to his opponent, of course. Does he not realize that in today's world, people NEED money for a happy, healthy prosperous life...or is that simply my American capitalist entrepreneurial point of view talking?
What I want to know is when are all the power-monger politicians going to realize that it takes 'two to tango' -- a yin needs a yang, men need women, the left needs the right, an employee needs an employer, the earth needs the sky, a tenant needs a landlord...etc., etc, and without someone out there wanting to work hard and earn more, there will not be enough taxes generated to support all those social programs they love so much!
Look, there are lots of things I like about the socialist ideals -- like all that great health care, quality education, top-notch transportation systems, etc., that France offers as a bi-product of its ideas about 'people vs money.' But without the balance, those benefits wouldn't exist.
And I don't get why they don't get it. What am I missing?
Hollande is ahead in the polls, too -- at 27% compared to "Sarko's" 23% and Marine Le Pen's 21% (oh lord!). And he's there because the front-runner, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, "screwed up."
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