a good citizen

Un bon

fights against the social system
gives back to the community
is aware of what his government does and
is lawful, and loyal
obeys the federal laws
obeys the laws, watches out for others
who contributes to the community.
who does a little extra
who does things to improve his/her country.
who doesn't break the law
who feels responsibility for his country
who is vigilant.
who knows the rules of the community.
who obeys the law and is repsponsible for
his activities
who respects his statet
who takes pride in his community.
who thinks about others
who votes and cares about the community.
who works for the well being of his/her city
who works hard, pays taxes, and follows the

comprend les lois, mais sait les contester.
d'adulte, qui a le sens du devoir
de respectueux
qui a des droits et des devoirs.
qui agit en pensant aux autres, ne gache
qui connait ses droits et devoirs
qui est responsable
qui est sensible à la politique et
à la nation
qui fait ses devoirs civiques, respecte les
qui ramasse les crottes de son chien, qui
va voter
qui respecte les autres citoyens
qui respecte autrui.
qui respecte autrui et qui pense à
sa patrie.
qui respecte la loi
qui respecte la loi
qui respecte la loi
qui respecte la loi
qui s'implique dans la vie de tous les jours.
qui s'implique dans la vie politique, civile
qui va voter
qui va voter
qui va voter !
qui vote, qui respecte la loi
qui vote, qui pense à son pays
respectant la loi et les autres.
sait vivre avec son entourage.
une personne respectueuse des lois
vote , qui respecte les lois quand elle sont


Les résultats concernant le mot "un bon citoyen" est sensiblement semblable dans les deux questionnaires. Il semble que le bon citoyen doit être apprécié à deux niveaux différents: 1.comme un être vivant dans une collectivité, i.e. quelqu'un respectant les autres et son entourage ; 2.comme un être appartenant à une société de droits et de devoirs, i.e. quelqu'un qui respecte la loi.
Cependant, il semble que ,aux US, l'idée commune en France que le bon citoyen doit voter et connaitre ses devoirs y est beaucoup moins développée.
Le seul moyen d'être actif dans son pays aux US est-il de faire de la politique ? Je veux dire par là que voter en France est un moyen à part entière de faire connaitre ses opinions...
Pourriez-vous rapidement nous expliquer le système législatif aux US, et surtout les pouvoirs de vote que chaque citoyen américain possède ?

Comme le dit Charles, en France il est très important d'aller voter, et c'est pour nous la manière principale de participer à la vie politique de la France. Avez-vous beaucoup d'élections aux Etats-Unis? Avez-vous d'autres moyens ( hors les manifestations, que nous savons très bien mener en France...) de participer à la vie de la communauté? Pour vous, est-il important de contester la Loi quand on estime qu'elle est injuste?

Voting is encouraged in the United States. However, a lot of people do not vote. Although it is encouraged, it is not always a priority for Americans. What is really important, however, is that you get your voice heard and in the United States, that does not occur only through your vote. There are a plethora of organizations, agencies, parties, etc. that are geared towards influencing politicians and legislators. People are more active in lobbying than in voting here in the United States. Here, it is not if your voice is heard, but how loud your voice is heard that counts. And, becoming a part of these organizations, etc. ensures that you scream.

I think that many people in the US are apathetic towards politics, leading to a low voter turnout. People feel that their vote doesn't really make a difference, especially in national politics. They feel that community service organizations and other groups can have a more direct impact on their lives and the lives of others. This may be why community service appeared much more frequently on the American side of the list. As Alison said, these groups often lobby Congress or local political bodies to make their voices heard. They also try to influence the media, which can have a huge impact on the way politicians behave. Do the French volunteer in their communities or do they think this is the government's role? Is it because France is much smaller than the US and problems are more evident?

Basically the american system consists of three branches: the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. The legislative branch consists of Congress (the Senate and the House of Representatives), and is responsible for creating and passing laws. The executive branch (the President and the Cabinet) is reviews and rejects or approves the laws passed by Congress. If Congress can muster enough support for a law (2/3 majority), they can pass it despite the veto of the President. The judicial branch is responsible for enforcing the law (courts, police) and for determining if a law violates the U.S. Constitution (Supreme Court).

Community service and voluntary service for the society seems to be much more important in the US than in France where you focus more on the duties of a good citizen. I believe that this is a result of the different economic systems of the two countries. Although the American system has proven very successful (more so than the French) in the creation of national wealth, the incentive based capitalism results in large inequalities. The poorest part of the population is probably much worse off than in France. In France the people rely on the government to take care of the "losers" in society, while in the US this happens to a much smaller extent. Community service is a mean to help parts of the society that would otherwise be neglected. This is probably reflected in the perception of a good citizen in the US versus France. The French believe more in their influence through politics while the Americans try to make a difference themselves.
Another reason why the Americans are less involved in politics is the electoral system and two party system of the country. In most of the European countries you have parliamentary systems where each party is represented by the fraction of votes they received in the election. This results in much more diverse multi-party national assemblies. Smaller political minorities will still have representatives that can make their voice heard in the legislative institutions. In the US all the representatives are elected by a majority vote and there is little room for small parties. In theory you can have a political party with 40% support across the country without one single seat in congress. The republicans and democrats agree on most of the important issues for the country, it is often hard to distinguish between the parties. Many people can't see how the different political options could make a difference to their lives and are less involved in politics.
Question for my friends in Boston: Marine asks if it is important for Americans to question the laws. I think Americans have an absolute belief in their laws and rarely think of why the laws are made in the first place. The constitution is almost sacred, I've heard politicians compare it to the bible. What do you think about the slogan that's posted along the highways: "Buckle up, it's the law"?

One thing that I find interesting is that many people mentionned community several times (contributes to the community, takes pride in his community, etc.) However, no one from INT mentioned it. I just wanted to ask what type of role does the community play? I know many people in the U.S. enjoy giving back to their communities or get involved somehow in their communities. Is that something that occurs very often in your country?


Pour mettre les choses au clair, il est tout à fait vrai qu'en France, on utilise très peu le mot "communauté" comme vous le faites aux USA. En fait, on utilisera plutôt le mot "groupe" pour désigner des gens qui ont des intérêts communs. Le "community service" comme l'entend Harald est en réalité très peu développé en France (la majorité étant des associations caritatives). En fait, on s'en occupe peu car on pense à mon avis que le gouvernement s'en occupe assez grâce à nos impôts majoritairement. Il est intéressant de voir aussi que les américains semblent considérer, comme le dit Harald, les lois comme quelque chose de sacré, alors qu' il est apparu dans les réponses de l'INT des réponses que j'ai du mal à comprendre (genre tendances anarchistes...) : "comprend les lois mais sait les contester" ; "qui respecte les lois quand elles sont justes"... cela fait peut-être parie de notre esprit latin ?

I think it's interesting to point out that although from their answers up to now the Americans seem more individualist than the French, when comes about 'good citizens' this attitude changes and the French seem to be more optimistic about their individual power to change 'something' in their public life, by their vote, while the Americans rely more on 'lobby', on different organizations in order to make a change.Do you think that this reflects a major difference in the political systems of the two countries?