Wow, I honestly did not expect to hear about something like this. Not the burning cars in the city thing, but a real movement. Not in 2006, anyway.
It's not terribly surprising, however; France, Paris in particular, has a very long history of popular revolt. I find it fascinating and inspiring, actually. The French have always had a very strong sense of nationalism and freedom, and if one begins limiting or threatening the other, they do something about it. They stand together and make a fight. They physically take to the streets and construct barricades. People march, and to protect themselves from police, pile random shit together to make a huge wall.
For over two hundred years (the mere lifespan of our own country, in which we hold our Constitution sacrosanct) the French have repeatedly reinvented themselves. Now, that was often because some guy let the power go to his head a little bit, but the country as a whole is okay with saying, 'Well, this hasn't gone too well. Let's scrap it and start over again and see if we can do it better.' I believe that is a much more natural and democratic way to go about being a national entity. Rather than, say, idolizing a single document regardless of changes in time and crime and sentiment and all kinds of things, using it as the end-all, be-all answer to what it means to be American.
I believe the French are up to their fifth or sixth constitution.
Each time that I learned about another popular uprising in France or Paris, I was astonished and awed anew. The people took matters into their own hands. When they were being wronged by someone in power, they ALL banded together to make a serious statement and DO something about it.
I think that this country will never be what it purports to be: the land of the free and the home of the brave. There are too many imprisoned in poverty or actual prisons. It began as, and has only become more so, the land of the rich and the land of the privileged.
To be a real, true democracy, the people rule. However, while that's the tagline of America, the reality is the 'every man for himself' and 'fighting for the American Dream.' These are singularly individualistic notions.
Now, obviously, the sheer size of both the physical land and the population make true synchronized rebellion difficult if not impossible.
But just imagine.
Imagine whole regions of people banding together to take up the fight for real freedom: economic opportunity. Why just let the rich and powerful populate and run the influential schools, universities, corporations, and media conglomerates?
Imagine an entire indignant profession deciding to stick up for themselves. Because dammit, they just weren't gonna take it anymore. What is wrong with fighting for rights and equitable pay?
Imagine a country looking at its leader and seeing a manipulative, lying, pampered oil prince, and the people DOING something about it? ALL of them, not just the crazy left-wing uberliberals?
Obviously, attempts to rise up have been made occasionally. Those brave souls risked their lives and jobs and reputations, sometimes in vain. But sometimes it works.
In this day and age, the likelihood of something like that working would be stifled by a very simple thing: it would probably be covered up and ignored by the mass media, since it's all controlled by the folks who don't want to see the dominant paradigm move a damn inch.
One can only hope that the young folks of the country have more awareness of the truth and the power of the vox populi, as well as the increasing importance of smaller, independent media to spread the word. Only then can this country embrace their freedom to actually seek true equity.
Now, that is what I will call a land of the brave and the home of the free.