Thursday, May 03, 2007

2007: le Débat

So anyway, since I somehow started the month with posts for each day, I'm going to set myself a challenge: write one post for every day in the month of May! I have a tendency to lose track of blogging time (as in, I thought I wrote one yesterday but really that was 2 weeks ago), especially when I have lots of schoolwork. But in May I won't have any classes, just work. I figure it's as good a time as any to try this out.

First subject: the debate between Sarkozy and Royal that took place yesterday. I had it on in the background while I was writing my paper yesterday and I only really paid attention to the beginning, the parts about immigration, and the parts about education. One specifically stood out to me because I thought it was a bit sexist. (For those of you who aren't aware of it, Sarkozy is a man and Royal is a woman; Sarkozy is more conservative, with the UMP party, and Royal is a socialist.) I've thought about it some more, and now I don't think it was intended to be sexist, but it upset me at the time.

What happened was that Sarkozy mentioned a reform he wanted to create that would allow handicapped students to attend "normal" schools. Royal became upset at this point because she, as Minister of Education (awhile ago), had actually passed measures that let teacher's aides help handicapped children in the regular classroom, thus allowing them to attend regular classes--and the UMP had removed funding from this project, thus putting the issue on the table again. She interrupted Sarkozy and "raised the tone" (as the French say) of the conversation, even calling his proposal "immoral" because his party had already struck hers down.

(Here's where it gets questionable.) Sarkozy told her to "calm down" (Calmez-vous, Madame!), and I knew it was going to get worse. I absolutely hate it when people tell me to calm down when I'm making an argument, and I could kind of tell it was the same with her. She did not calm down and told him that one shouldn't calm down if one thinks that something is immoral. Then he went for the throat: "Madame, il faut etre calme pour etre president" (Madame, to be president, one must be calm).

Wooooooo! Now that bugged me a little bit! Let's imply that she's hysterical and incapable of managing her emotions! (Yeah, that's what I thought was sexist.)

She really got into it, defending herself, saying that she wasn't upset but rather angry, and we have the right to get angry. I personally thought she did a pretty good job of keeping her cool, although other commentaries I've seen have not agreed.

Why did I change my mind and think it wasn't meant as sexist? Well, people have been saying that Sarkozy would lose his cool, so I think he was just trying to be ironic--"one must be calm to be president" might have been a charge leveled at him, and so he was trying to turn it around. Unfortunately it came off as sexist to me. As I've said though, no one else I've read has seen it that way (voir: this blogger I like).

Now, before you go thinking that I looove Royal because she is a woman and, well, women with feminist leanings just love all women no matter what they do... Let me tell you. I have no preference for either candidate. In fact, up until a few weeks ago, I was favoring Sarkozy. But he really rubbed me the wrong way during this debate. And of course, I don't live in France anymore, so more taxes or less immigrant rights doesn't mean the same thing it would have last year.

Yeah, that's a pretty crummy thing to say, but it's true, sadly. But I'll still watch arret sur images today to see what I missed.


Maria said...

oh arrêt sur images and all the debates... I simply can't handle it at all. I tell Cédric to turn the volume down so I can't hear it or to go watch it at our neighbor's house, because it is just so unnecessary! So very unnecessary when I just verified today that because my carte de séjour has a mention étudiant that we are not eligible for DCF, which means we're going to be separated for easily two years.. and I'd just prefer spend these last twenty days together without discussion of les polémiques.

Gem said...

What is DCF? I didn't even have a valide Carte de sejour when I left France (tho' I was eligible for one), and Jube and I had no problems with the K-1 visa (no problems related to my status in France, that is...). Have you considered a K-3 visa? That might be easier. Of course Cedric probably wouldn't be able to work for 3 months or so, but it might be better than being separated for 2 years. Feel free to e-mail me if you want particular information about our immigration or K-3 questions.

helene said...

A blog a day??!! You mean I can get my French Toast AND my For Better or Worse fix EVERYDAY??!!

maria said...

DCF = direct consular filing, which allows you to bypass to US service center (in our case, Nebraska) and directly file your I-130 at the embassy. For France, it takes three to four months from the filing to the IR1 visa.

We've decided that we don't want to do the K3, even if it would bring us together more quickly, for a number of reasons. If the Visa Journey timelines are correct, it will take about a year, although of course I'm telling myself that it *could* take just six months :-).

jchevais said...

What is interesting is that on the news yesterday evening (TF1) the journalists made a point of showing where each candidate screwed up.

Royal shot herself in the foot on the handicap issue it appears.

From what I could gather, her point in getting all fired up about the handicap issue was to denouce Sarko as being immoral in using handicapped kids as a political issue when she had created a program integrating handicapped kids all those years ago. Also, it appears that while her program was technically "supprimé" from one budget, it was really attached to another government budget and has since prospered (even under a right wing government)...

Using her anger appears to have been a ruse... unless she really had no idea what the hell kind of programs the government offers. Which wouldn't surprise me either.

jube said...

She had probably planned to include a "moment of strong indignation" long in advance, and seized the opportunity at that moment, and Sarkozy had probably planned to play it calm long it advance too, acting as a poor little victim. Maybe one day they will understand that they are bad actors.