Friday, October 15, 2010

You're Pissed about WHAT?

The French people are apparently hoppin' mad and have taken to the streets. Why? Because their government wants to change the retirement age to 62 (still three years before the average American, and something like 7 years before most people actually attempt retirement), and (gasp!) they want to change full-time work 32 hours a week. Now, in America, once again, we aren't considered full-time or eligible for ANY benefits unless we're working 35 or more. But, worse still, we work even more than that if at all possible because we can't live otherwise. I'm not entirely sure what they're pissed about. That equals out to be only 4 days a week for an average 8 hour shift. And working two more years isn't going to kill you. From the American perspective- and especially from an American of the working poor socioeconomic class- this sounds like an absolute DREAM. The average British citizen thinks Americans are nuts because they don't take or are not allowed "holiday"- they get, on average, at least 6 a year, including a long term vacation. In Italy, they shut everything down in the afternoon, and every one gets a nap before they get up and go to eat their evening meal- mind you, they also got an hour for lunch, and the day doesn't start until 8 or so for the average city dweller. Europeans have faaaaaaaar more luxury time than any American that isn't filthy rich. I'm thinking they get a pretty sweet deal, but this is obviously not a shared viewpoint. I'd love it if life could work any of those ways. I mean, the only "holiday" most Americans get in a year is when they have a family emergency. We don't get to flit all over the place and have lots of fun. We're nose-to-the-grindstone. We are a 24 hour, 7 day a week nation, and we're tired. The French shouldn't bitch. They've got a really good deal. I wish Americans cared enough to get out and protest the ludicrous amounts of bullshit that happen on Capitol Hill every day.
A senator from Nevada had some shit to say about Dearborn, Michigan, and it's largely Muslim population. She speculated that, because of its large demographic of Muslims, that Sharia law is practiced there. First of all, why is she worried about Dearborn, Michigan? They're not her constituents. Second of all, Sharia law is most definitely NOT practiced in ANY part of Michigan. But- "she read some articles that made her think that it was happening, and she felt it necessary to address it because no law should be practiced other than American law". Really, lady, really? How about we protest stupid people being allowed to run for Congress? I mean, the only rules regarding running for a senator or representative position are that you are an American citizen and own a home in the area that you are trying to represent. Why don't we demand IQ tests, or even better, that they are rigorously tested to make sure they have a highly functional knowledge about economics? Why don't we demand that the electoral college, an archaic institution that has little to no value to a public that is so accessible such as ours become, be abolished and that the popular vote be the ruling voice? Why don't we protest that WE, the people, have no voice at all anymore?
Then there's places like Africa, when there are problems such as inaccessability to clean water, rampant epidemics of non-curable disease, female genital mutilation, and in fact, genocide. There's still race wars there- thousands of women in the Congo have been raped and killed just because they lived in the wrong village at the wrong time. The problems in Africa are so enormous that one can't possibly list them all.
I'm happy that the French believe they are entitled to things and are willing to take steps to get what they want. But, seriously, in light of everything else in the world, I'm not sure why this made the news. And I'm not sure why it is that they feel they're being cheated. Two more hours a week, and working two extra years seem like a drop in the bucket. Only if everyone else were so lucky that this was the worst that happened to them.

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