Thursday, May 10, 2007


Remember when conservatives used to hate France? Remember freedom fries? Remember how the rogue nation was supposed to French kiss our asses when the war on Iraq turned out to be the enormous accomplished mission cakewalk that it is?

Well, conservatives don't. At least, not since the most French-speaking nation in Europe turned out in droves to elect Nicolas Sarkozy as their new president. I've been sitting on this blog for days, because it's taken that long for this to sink in with me. So many things about this make so little sense:

Despite the historical non-affinity that French people have for the United States, they 1) generated an 85 percent turnout to 2) elect a far-right candidate who 3) expressed preference for outdated American pop culture such as Madonna, Miami Vice and 4) the piss-poor policies currently labeled as "American foreign policy" and 5) ran against Segolene Royal, who was not only an illustrious candidate but also much less, um, hard on the eyes. I mean, that Sarkozy guy looks so French!

This election is a sign that the French people are warming up to American ideals. One of the central issues in this cycle was the nation's famous 35-hour work week, which Sarkozy thinks is insufficient. And if anything represents America, it's our passion for working longer and longer hours with no equivalent increase in compensation. The domino theory at work! Next up: getting les francaise to chain-smoke Marlboros instead of cloves.

On this side of the pond, Sarkozy has received passionate kudos from Americans, pledging unconditional support for the very projects that 70 percent of Americans currently think we should not be doing. Figures. Since when does supporting Bush administration policy make anyone remotely American?

Sarkozy said that he plans on being the president for all of France, and that he will direct his focus within. Well, yeah, that's what his job is as president of France; it's the prime minister who handles foreign policy. Bet you didn't know that! He probably doesn't, either. Unless, of course, he's simply trying to say: "I'm a uniter, not a divider." Except, you know, in French. Mine's a bit shaky since I took my last French course in Fall of 2000, back when we didn't have an excuse to hate them yet.

Most puzzling of all is how this election happened right in the midst of a backlash against right-wing leaders who toss off vacuous platitudes and pledge undying support for tragically misguided causes. Ah, France...a rebel until the very end!

Maybe it's time to reconsider that whole "freedom fries" thing.

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