October 12, 2013
Voilà. The promotional poster Marguerite made for her class election this week. It says (and the phonetic spelling on this poster is as charming as it gets): "Vote for me. I have never been elected as a delegate and I would be a good delegate and represent the class well, Marguerite...and please, vote for me - this is me" (with an arrow pointing to her drawing).
This is an apprenticeship in democracy to which all French students get exposed from the very beginning of primary school up to the end of their education. Every class has two délégués, who address problems in the class and propose ideas to make life better for students. They act as representatives for the students and are the intermediary between the students and the professor (Xavier explained that there is a forum every year where teachers discuss all students one by one and determine who will be held back that year - in France, this is a chunk of students, unlike the US. The delegates are present to represent their peers. Hefty job!)
I love France for things like this. We were having a casual conversation the other night and Xavier made some comment about someone: "le mec qui n'achète pas son pain lui meme" (the guy who doesn't even buy his own bread). I smiled (the meaning of the statement really didn't reach me) and he insisted. This is a true measure of sincerity in France. Every year, députés (from the National Assembly) are asked, "Combien coute une baguette de pain aujourd'hui?" (How much does a baguette cost?) and those who can actually cite the correct amount, down the centime, are respected - the inability to do so gets discussed in re-election considerations.
I just hope Marguerite gets elected and keeps her feet on the ground and continues to buy bread in the boulangerie herself.