What the US needs most ...

Ce dont la France a le plus besoin ...

  • a normal president.
  • a stronger love of learning, is more passionate people
  • a unified government who puts all of their people's needs above their own ridiculous agendas.
  • compassion, understanding, less stubborn members of congress
  • equality for minorities and women.
    to expel bigots like Trump.
  • free healthcare, higher minimum wage
  • is a decent president, is equal rights for all
  • is a multi-party system, is to begin to appreciate other cultures more, to understand that all ideas and countries have positive and negative things about them (including the US itself)
  • is an effective government (all three branches - executive, legislative and judicial) and a lack of partisanship
  • is an end to racism, is universal healthcare
  • is a unifying figure, is a clearer vision.
  • is common sense, is to think critically, is to be educated
  • is compassion, unity.
  • is great teachers. , is less selfish people.
  • is humility, tolerance and care for others.
  • is kindness and respect for all members of society
  • is more affordable and more diverse higher education e.g vocational schools, etc.
  • is to be more open-minded and empathetic.
  • is to change its priorities to be more human focused, is to find better ways to help those in need, is to spend less on our military
  • is tolerance
  • is to resolve inequalities between different demographics
  • is to stop being so bigoted.
  • c'est d'une nouvelle solution politique sur le plan national
  • c'est d'un nouveau gouvernement, avec un président qui comprend le peuple.
  • c'est de gagner l'Euro 2016.
  • c'est de la confiance en soi et en son peuple
  • c'est de soleil.
  • de s'ouvrir et de prendre exemple sur l'extérieur.
  • est d'agir.
  • est de réduire la dette
  • est l'union
  • est un dirigeant venant du peuple, et non plus uniquement d'une classe politique fermée et élitiste.
  • est d'une politique plus juste, une politique qui ne soit pas esclave des grandes entreprises
  • La France a besoin d'alléger les taxes (particulièrement dans le monde du travail).
  • n'existe pas.
  • prendre des mesures écologiques
  • sont ses valeurs, son peuple
  • une inertie collective positive
  • un nouveau président, de cerveaux, une meilleur équipe de football
  • un sens de l'humour

Discussion

I noticed that both the French and the Americans mentioned the president/government/politics a lot, but it seems that the French focused more on “a new, better president” while the Americans spoke more of the government in general and its policies and laws. I also thought it was interesting that soccer was mentioned twice on the French side, and along with “sunshine” and “a sense of humor”, it made it seem like sports/free time/pleasure is also very important for the French (nothing similar was mentioned on the American side).

A lot of Americans are upset with the way our policies work, such as health care and minimum wage, and because of that, are worried about our next president. These issues of policies were lacking on the French side, leading me to wonder if the people who said France needs a new president dislike Hollande more on a personal basis than on a political basis? As in, do you think your laws and policies are generally good, but the leader should change?

I also did not understand what the person who said “n’existe pas” meant. Do you think France is perfect the way it is?

I noticed that none of the french responses mentioned things like tolerance and equality (for the sexes, for the races, for the religions, etc), even though France has had a history of islamophobia and antisemitism, which I thought was interesting. In the US, topics like these are pretty discussed because it’s the “hot topic” as of the moment (as you can probably tell from our responses). I was wondering if hateful acts like such (such as restricting Muslims from wearing burqas, smashing storefronts of Jewish store owners, etc - I’ve read the news articles) were less publicized in France?

Also, I thought it was interesting that many of the French responses talked about financial reform, and none of the Americans mentioned it, even though the US is in pretty extreme debt. The US financial plan heavily relies on being in debt, so maybe that’s why none of us mentioned it. However, in the US we don’t hear very much about the financial situations of other countries. Could you explain why so many of you believe France needs a financial reform?

Both American and French students want better leadership that is unified and represents the needs of the people. The American students think that America needs to be more compassionate, more tolerant, more humility. French students seemed to want their country to be more unified. The students from both countries want leaders that do better jobs. My question is what do you hate the most about your president?

A lot of commentaries on the American side suggest changes to the government or ways to appease all of the diverse interests in our country, whether through equal access to healthcare, wage equality, or access to education. It seems like the American opinion is more unified on this front: there are specific parts of our society which need to be fixed. On the other hand, the French responses are more scattered and lighthearted. There are some responses which target the government or the leadership, but for the most part the French seem less outspoken about needing to change certain aspects of France. Perhaps this indicates higher levels of satisfaction with the government. To the French students: do you actively follow politics (both elections and new policies)?

It’s kind of interesting to me because I think that most young people in America, especially busy MIT students, don’t pay much attention to politics at all. To me, politics and following current events on the news are the best indicators of how the country is doing on the whole. Maybe a lot of these complaints arise on the American side because we are largely uninformed about the major steps that have been taking. It’s a lot easier to criticize something when you don’t know enough about it.

One thing that I found interesting about the responses is that almost all of the American responses seemed to fit into 1 of four categories (equality, changes in the government/laws, compassion, or education) whereas the French responses were much more diverse. For instance, one person mentioned “de soleil,” two people talked about le foot, someone said a “sens de l’humour” and other people talked about government, ecology, and political ideology. It also seemed as though the American responses seemed to focus much more on very serious subjects. I wonder if part of the reason for that is because we are currently in the midst of a large presidential election and people are talking about these issues now more than they have in recent years. On the other hand, I feel as though on average the French follow politics much more than Americans do. How involved are you in following and/or participating in politics? Does that change a lot during an election year?

La France a besoin de l’unité nationale afin de réformer profondément son systême. Peut être en passant à la VIème république, et en renouvelant le paysage politique.

@frenchisinteresting Le problème de notre président est qu’il montre ouvertement qu’il ne fait rien et ne peux rien faire. Il représente notre pays d’une façon assez négative et c’est ce que lui reproche une partie des français. Malheureusement, je pense que dans le climat actuel (Europe, Syrie etc…), un autre n’aurait pas fait mieux.

La France (et surtout les français) a besoin d’avoir plus confiance en elle et en l’avenir. De nombreuses études montrent qu’en moyenne un français est plus pessimiste qu’un afghan… Après évidement, il faudrait reformer la manière de faire de la politique et plus particulièrement le lien entre les élites politiques et le reste du peuple. Mais ça, c’est un problème quasiment mondial.

@Hera013 : je pense que si il y a quelques réponses parmi les français sur l’économie de notre pays, c’est parce que la France est touchée par la crise (comme de nombreux autres pays) depuis plusieurs années maintenant, et que les différents gouvernements ne semblent pas trouver de réelles solution à cela. Aussi, il y a actuellement un projet de loi sur le travail, et donc notre économie, qui est discutée par notre gouvernement. Il fait actuellement beaucoup de buzz dans notre pays car ce qui est proposé dans cette loi ne correspond pas, à mon sens, aux “valeurs” du partie qui la propose. Ce buzz a probablement influencé quelques réponses de notre côté, même si de manière générale, avec la crise qui ne fini pas de durer, de plus en plus de personnes pensent qu’un changement radical dans notre économie est nécessaire pour la terminer.

@Jessica : ça dépend des personnes, tout le monde n’est pas impliqué, ni ne suit la vie politique de son pays, même si je pense qu’à notre âge, on essaie de suivre un minimum. La plupart des gens suivent ce qui est largement diffusé par nos médias, ce qui nous focalise les sujets relayés en masse. La période d’élection a surement dû jouer aussi, puisque comme tu l’as dis vous êtes en période d’élection, alors que les nôtres n’auront lieu que dans un an.

@anogues That’s interesting, that French people are on average more pessimistic than Afghan people. Do you know more about that study, like if French people have been getting more pessimistic as time goes on? Do you feel that it accurately represents the sentiment in your country right now, and do you think those feelings are due to the France’s politics or could it be because of something else?

I don’t know how the U. S.’s pessimism/optimism is right now compared to in the past (or for any country for that matter), but I think it would be interesting to know.

America has similar problems to France in that we need more unity in our government for things to get accomplished. However, the system of checks and balances that we have in the United States is a necessary evil. I feel that what a government, and especially a president, can accomplish is limited and that people should not just rely on their presidents to do everything. The quickest or best way to make a change is with regular citizens at the grass roots level.

@rrambaud: It’s interesting that you say that not everyone tries to follow politics, because I always thought that Americans were much less involved in politics than most Europeans were. For instance, less than half of Americans that are eligible vote (slightly over half do in presidential election years, but that’s still not a lot) whereas in France I believe more than ¾ people vote. When you say that not everyone follows it, but that many people at least try to follow it a little, what does that entail? I know many people my age who never read newspapers/watch the news, and almost never discuss it with people. Unfortunately, these types of people are all too common. I’m wondering what you would consider follow it at a minimum to entail? Would that be reading newspapers several times a week and talking about them with friends or over social media, or more along the lines of know the names of some important government officials such as the president? I think I remember reading an article that talked about how ⅔ of Americans couldn’t name a single supreme court justice. It’s insane.
When people say they follow politics, does that mean they follow France’s politics or politics on an international level? I think even fewer Americans know about international politics than know about internal affairs.

Une réponse m’a surprise, c’est “a normal president”. Est ce que vous considérez votre président anormal ? Si oui, vous le comparez à qui ? aux anciens présidents de l’USA ? Aux présidents d’autres pays ? Ou à un modèle idéal ?

@hanine I’m not the person who responded “a normal president” but I don’t think that people are comparing the US president to presidents of other countries when they say that - I think that a lot of people blame the country’s problems on the US president, which is sometimes founded and sometimes unfounded. For example, the Iraq war can be easily (and correctly) blamed on George W. Bush, because presidents have the power to start wars without having to go through Congress. On the other hand, any problems or issues that have to go through Congress (which pretty much involves any decision except for war) will often be blamed on the president even if it’s not their fault their proposals didn’t get passed.
I also think that a lot of people romanticize presidents of the past. For example, I think that people believe George Washington pretty much could do no wrong and was one of the best presidents the US has ever seen. This might be one of the reasons why people are so hesitant about betraying the Constitution (what comes immediately to mind is gun control and the people who say that Americans have the right to “take up arms” as the Constitution states) but we have to remember that our founding fathers were humans too and made mistakes and also, lived in a completely different time period than us and had to deal with very different issues.

Je pense que les réponses des Américains sont assez semblables en ce qui concerne la politique, nous désirons tous avoir un meilleur système de gérance gouvernementale. Néanmoins nous sommes en démocratie et nous choisissons nos présidents comment peut on avoir le sentiment de ne pas choisir ?

@laika: Un exemple d’étude sur cette question a été menée en 2011 à l’échelle internationale, et les Français ont eu la première place (on ne peut pas vraiment s’en réjouir…). Mais ce pessimisme en France touche essentiellement les personnes de plus de 40-50 ans et les seniors, donc des personnes qui ont connu ou ont été influencés la période des Trente Glorieuses (de la fin de la seconde guerre mondiale à la moitié des années 70), une période de forte croissance économique. Et comme aujourd’hui, la situation semble plutôt inverse, et qu’on n’en voit pas vraiment le bout, forcément ça a un impact sur la manière de penser des gens, qui pensent qu’il faudrait tout changer pour tout reprendre à zéro.
Est-ce la même chose aux USA ? Trouvez-vous que la situation aux Etats-Unis est similaire à celle de la France ou est-ce complètement l’inverse ?

@rlineatte I suppose that makes sense–I also would not want to wrongly accuse someone. When you say you wouldn’t want to turn someone in unless their cheating affected your own results, is that a “it’s not my business” or “it’s not my problem” line of thinking? Why do you feel that way–is it a cultural thing?

Je rejoins jarnault sur le fait que personne ne cautionne les tricheurs. Malgré tout, je suis certains que la plupart d’entre nous (ça m’est bien sur déjà arrivé) ont déjà triché (pas forcément à un examen d’ailleurs), comment l’avez vous vécu ? Cela vous a t-il perturbé ou bien trouvez vous cela normal ? Avez vous réussi à vous justifier à vous même votre tricherie ?
Et si l’un d’entre vous n’a jamais triché de sa vie, n’en a t-il jamais ressenti l’envie ? Comment a t-il fait pour résister ?

engage