Wednesday, March 29, 2006

French Freedom Fries

My son is working on a project this month about his heritage. I was able to give him lots of information about the Plaisted liniage -- all the way back to Normandy in 1100 (then to England; across the ocean to Maine in 1650, etc.). He decided to concentrate on France as one of his countries of origin.

After school yesterday -- before heading out to Lake Park to play catch on a sunny day -- I had him sit down to watch some live video of the authorities trying to clear demonstrators from a square in Paris. The smart-ass 20-ish students and workers dared the jandarmes to hit them with the robot water cannons, and so they did. It is always interesting to watch the supposedly powerless toy with the determination of the supposedly powerful when they try to move them. I'm sure most of the crowd would have moved on hours ago, were it not for the ridiculous show of force. It was too much fun for the young people to play with the tin soldiers.

There has been much tut-tutting about the French protests, objecting to a change in the French law that would eliminate job security for young workers -- apparently they get the first two years for free, or something like that. This has been charactorized as downright un-American by the suck-it-up crowd, most of whom have agent-driven contracts and golden parachutes.

But, really, what is so wrong with government-sponsored job security? Not that it will ever happen here, but does everywhere in the world have to convert to our survival-of-the-luckiest version of trickle-down capitalism? I always admired the fact that everyone in France and other parts of Europe take August off as a paid holiday (not to mention their nationalized health insurance).

We need to lighten up and not be so damn virtuous about working our asses off for less pay and no security. We need to get a real life. The French already have one.

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