by Agnes a Paris
Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 08:23:43 PM EST
Warning: this diary is not about facts, it's about perceptions. Politics are based on perceptions, policies on facts, or more precisely the translation thereof into actions with the unavoidable bias of public opinion.
Another warning: by ET standards, I consider my political culture rather poor. I will not write about what I don't know. This lack of political culture is rooted in a childhood lived in a communist country, teen years spent in Africa with very restricted exposure to the media, consistent reading of Le Canard Enchaine since I settled in France more than ten years ago. True, the third factor should have made up for the first two. Instead, this insider peak fostered a consistent and growing dismay at the French political establishment as a whole, "tous pourris".
My heart drives me to be more interested in what is going on in Poland, my native country, and reason makes me prefer the UK, where you can pass by 10, Downing Street on a ordinary day without being summoned to the opposite sidewalk by the police guarding what we call in France the Palaces of the Republic, even if T. Blair being interviewed on a rainy morning with his steaming cup of tea looks a little mise en scene as well.
Being eligible to vote on local elections in the UK, I do so with the feeling that my vote might bring about more change than it would do in France. Again, this is about perceptions, not reality, which has always been a puzzling concept to me altogether.
I try very hard to understand what is at stake when going to the polls is on the agenda, and am proud to say I never missed an election, as a Polish or French citizen, even when I lived in the UK.
Enough background. There are bound to be numerous diaries on the forthcoming French general elections, and no doubt the informative value of mine is edging towards zero in comparison.
This diary conveys a personal view (again). Which opens the thread to other, potentially discording views. That's what drives me when I write : express what I think, partial and biased as it may be, to make room for other opinions. I would not argue with someone I don't respect, and that's why I like ET.
Why do I stand for Segolene Royal, despite the oblivion I've been so far of her program- my personal issues are there to blame, not to display.
-For the first time in the history of France's "modern" politics, a woman will stand to presidential elections with chances to gain more than 5% of the electorate in the first round. OK, Arlette Laguiller has been around for a while, but not in the same league.
-This woman is reasonably young, and a chance for France to change from a gerontocracy to a governmental team more in line with European standards. For the record, Chirac is wobbling towards his eighties.
-This woman will go (and already has) through tough times. Politics is a dirty game, and if this woman keeps displaying the determination she showed so far to stand firm, with style, to tacky comments and other intimidation methods widely used in a still very patriarchal and misogynic country, well this woman has the guts to be our future President.
-Last but not least: Segolene Royal is attractive, and this comes into the balance. Rule of thumb: it's tougher to make one's way to the top when you are an attractive woman. First you need to prove the fairy godmother did not forget your brains when she gifted you with the looks. And then, your contenders, male and female, will charge you with sleeping your way to the top.
Segolene Royal epitomises the modern woman : a family, a career, ambition and no misplaced shame thereof, belief that you can get somewhere without replicating the pattern for success set by men, that you can be tenacious and resilient without being stubborn and unyielding.
On these grounds, I say good luck. It's not about kicking any man's ass (even if that would do Sarkozy a hell lot of good). It's about a wind of change that may turn the French into a less self-demeaning nation. Last time was World Cup victory. It's about time we have more enduring motives.