Two Very Different Views on Who Deserves a Good Life?
On August 19, 2012
By Diana Robinson-Bardyn | Blog
Mon dieu! Marie-Antoinette’s head is spinning.
As a woman who enjoys dual French/American citizenship and has lived
most of her adult life in European democracies, I am often asked about
the differences between France and the United States. Depending on my
mood, the moment, and the audience, my replies vary. There is of course
French cuisine, the French way of celebrating mealtimes and so much
But today when I am asked, just months after the election of François
Hollande as President of France, and just weeks away from the American
presidential election, I like to focus on differences that go beyond
taste and style.
France is a vibrant democracy with over a dozen active political parties
where every political ideology is represented, a diversity that perhaps
encourages participation at a level that Americans could never hope to
attain. The voter turnout in France this year was 80%, something which
is impossible to imagine in the U.S. The American election of 2008 had a
record-breaking turnout of just 58%, and even that required an enormous
get- out-the-vote campaign.