I’m getting a chafed nose from all the mouchoirs blancs I’ve been using. Bleh again. Am I the only person who gets ravenously hungry when they get a cold?
Meanwhile, the French are voting today in the first round of the election, narrowing the 12 candidates to just 2. America cares about this (or ought to) because we have a lot more business interests here than most people realize, and vice versa. (Right, ?) Also, the ultimate winner (who will be determined in a couple of weeks) will influence future political alliances with America. I’m just sayin’.
Unfortunately, this is a sad election. As of yesterday, 30% of the French were undecided. From what I’m told, the platforms are so flimsy, no one has any real confidence in any one candidate. They really need someone strong who can get the economy out of the rut it’s in and also deal with the discrimination problems. Alas, here are the serious front runners:
Segolene Royal: a Socialist spouting old leftist, anti-American rhetoric who wants to load a bunch more welfare programs on a country that already can’t afford them. But she’s hot, so that’s good, right? She talks about ending discrimination via anonymous resumes. She is, in a word, high.
Nicholas Sarkozy: the used car salesman for the right-wing party, but the one who is most pro-American and the only one who wants to kick-start the economy with some American economic strategies. He’s short and ambitious. Many people refer to him as Napoleon. Or “Mini Bush.”
Jean-Marie Le Pen: a Nazi. Excuse me, a “patriotic” Nazi. This racist, fascist bastard suggested that Sarkozy wasn’t French enough to be president because his mother was Hungarian. He’s not entirely unlike this raving British Neocon/lunatic, Melonie Phillips.
Francois Bayrou: a centrist with tons of experience who is entirely too sensible to be elected. The French don’t trust Centrism because it’s been somewhat disastrous in the past. This might be changing, however, as it appears the country needs to ditch their painfully restrictive two-party system.
Racism and discrimination are rampant here. In les cités where the rioting happened in 2005, there is 40% unemployment. If you have a foreign name, especially something that suggests you have brown skin, you can’t get a job, even if you’re a 3rd generation French citizen. The vast majority of these folk go to Great Britain and find jobs easily. People like Le Pen want to shuttle people with dark skin out of France entirely. He claims that “Muslim extremists” and “terrorists” caused the rioting — which is completely untrue. The rioting was sparked by social problems and fueled by local drug mafia (keep ’em poor and addicted, fellas, to keep the cash flowing). France is just as worried about terrorism as we are. (The Taleban just kidnapped two French people in Afghanistan.) In response, Sarkozy, who was until recently Minister of the Interior, smartly broke down the staunch wall between church and state to enact a law to allow mosques to be erected, hoping to stave off the very real possibility of “Muslim extremism” developing in the country. But now people worry he’ll rupture that wall between church and state even further. France is deeply Catholic but they expect their politicians to govern in a humanistic fashion.
Meanwhile, Chirac — who is a crook facing a kaboodle of criminal charges once he steps down — did one good thing by opposing the Iraq war, but he did nothing to move France into the 21st Century. Also, there’s all sorts of weird shit going on in Algeria to this day because of shadowy French influences. I don’t know the background, but I suspect some of it will crumble when Chirac leaves. But certainly not all.
Today, the Corsicans are blowing shit up as everyone bites their nails. The media isn’t allowed to reveal poll results of any sort until the polls close so as not to influence voters. For once, I’m happy we live out in the countryside.