Thursday, November 09, 2006

Confessions of a closet conservative

I have to admit it. I used to be liberal. Now I am, contextually speaking, conservative.

I used to live in the United States (oh... how I miss that!) and by a series of weird events and coincidences, I find myself in France, with my life (husband, two children, two dogs, job...) here too.

After living abroad over 14 years, I find myself often having 'bad France' days, like some people have 'bad hair' days. It seems like it is 'bad France' month. Or even year, who knows. My own little personal life is fine and dandy, but whenever I venture into my environement, especially recently, I feel more foreign than I possibly could ever imagine feeling. And then it challenges the beliefs I have about my identity. Like this morning.

I walked onto the university campus this morning. And I saw this sign saying that one of the student syndicats (they are like unions) are fed up with having to work while studying. WTF???

OK, working and going to college isn't easy. I did it, most of the people I know did it. Does it seem fair? Well, I don't believe in 'fair', so I don't know if it is or not. All I know is, I was thinking, "What do these kids want"? They want extra time to party (who doesn't!)? They want what? Hours and hours to study (most of them wouldn't... I know I wouldn't have!)? What? They don't want to work?

So what is that about... I guess at some level no one wants to work, but on another level we know the consequences of that. So maybe that is what really angers me, they just don't want to deal with the consequences. Not yet, at least.

I wondered, "Am I becoming a conservative"? Does this make me a nut? Why don't I empathize with students who need to take part-time jobs during their studies? I understand not wanting to do something... but... isn't this part of life? I don't want to generalize, either. There are nuances, there are shades of grey, perhaps working part-time isn't indeed for everyone, but golly, I just don't remember it severely or negatively affecting anyone I went to college with.

I know I don't belong here. And maybe that is part of the problem.

The context has made me conservative. I wonder how liberal I would be if I ever returned to the US...