With the first round of the French presidential elections just three days away, I have been giving some thought to how I would vote if I could actually vote here in France. It is easy in your home country to be persuaded by tradition, by how your family tends to vote, by how your region or religion tends to vote or by your prior associations with the political parties. In a new place, you have the opportunity to start from scratch, to make a decision based solely on the candidates and on their politics, with few or no preconceptions.
Unfortunately, like many of you, I am still stuck. It is hard to get too excited about any of the candidates. So…
What if I were running for President of the République?
This would be my platform:
- Let stores hold sales whenever they want.
- Eliminate restrictions on accessing US and UK internet sites and television from France.
- Let anyone with a valid driver’s license from another country trade it in for a French license. Sure, give subsidies to (French) students who can’t afford drivers’ ed but I have no sympathy for these people who claim they have spent thousands and thousands of euros on driving lessons. Just face it – you can’t drive and you don’t deserve a license.
- Eliminate speed limits on highways.
- Eliminate the word “normalement” from the dictionary. Pas possible? While we’re at it, delete “pas possible” from the dictionary also.
- Subsidies for importers of Italian coffee.
- Require strikes to be all or nothing. None of these wishy-washy cuz-I-woke-up-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-bed strikes. Announce your demands clearly. Strike only if they are not met. Strike until they are met or until you give them up. That is how a strike is supposed to work.
- Allow people to be fired if they are truly lazy or incompetent.
- Increase the number of licensed taxis in Paris by 400%.
- Require all banks and government agencies to go 100% paperless. Electronic documents only. No need to kill an entire forest just so I can open a checking account.
- lean on the metal poles in the metro that are there for everyone to hold onto.
- smoke on terraces.
- dub movies or TV shows.
- leave cigarette butts on the grass in public parks.
- stand to the left on the escalator and not let other people get by.
- add sugar to popcorn or soy sauce.
- pee on public buildings – sorry, a €35 fine is not enough.
- let your dog poop on the sidewalk or in a park and not pick it up.
- put mayonnaise in anything. Or call something “American sauce” when it is really “French dressing”.
- sneer at people speaking English in public.
What do you think? Would you vote for me? If you could change just a few things about France, what would they be?