A good citizen is someone

Un bon citoyen est quelqu'un

acts to help their country and sets an example.
contributes to the community.
helps others, law abiding
serves his country
who accomodates to the city order, also someone who is active in promoting development.
who accomodates to the city order, also someone who is active in promoting development.
who always votes and stays informed
who believes in his country and participates on its government.
who cares for his country
who does not violate the rules of his country.
who helps other people on his community
who is considerate of others, doesn't harm common resources like the environment, and participates in the political processes such as elections.
who looks out for the common good
who obeys the rules of the community and cares about the common wealth.
who pays tax
who pays their taxes and obeys the law.
who realizes the true state of the world despite of the newspaper propaganda.
who respects the law and helps his peers.
who respects the laws and is patriot.
who respects the rights of others as much as he demands his own.
who takes only pictures and leaves only footprints.
who understands the issues of the nation and votes.
who votes, who can make educated decisions, who is involved in the community
works hard in his/her company or school

qui est intégré dans sa société.
qui est intégré à la société
qui fait preuve de civisme
qui ne commet pas d'infraction
qui ne commet pas d'infraction, qui se sent concerné par les problèmes de la société
qui participe a le vie sociale et culturelle de son pays
qui participe à la vie de son pays
qui paye ses taxes.
qui respect les droits et libertés des autres
qui respecte la loi
qui respecte la loi et les autres
qui respecte les autres
qui respecte les autres
qui respecte les autres
qui respecte les droits d'autrui
qui respecte les règles
qui respecte les règles du pays, qui vote.
Qui respecte les règles légitimes et sait affronter les lois scélérates
qui respecte ses concitoyens, oeuvre pour la nation
qui respecte ses droits civiques
qui respecte son pays
qui s'intéresse à la vie politique de son pays
qui s'intéresse à ses institutions
qui va voter
qui va voter
qui va voter.
qui vote
qui vote
qui vote, qui accepte ses devoirs, qui s'engage
qui vote, qui respecte les autres
se soucie de la vie de la cité.
sert bien son pays


les français pensent que les américains sont de nature beaucoup plus patriotiques que les français (attachement au drapeau, attachement à l'armée...). Mais aux vues des réponses qui semblent être pluis ou moins les mêmes que les notres, on peut conclure que les français et les américains se ressemblent dans leur conception de la citoyenneté.
qu'en pensez vous?
Julie et Armelle

Yes, I agree that the conceptions are similar, which is interesting. However, I have noticed that among the French an important part of been a good citizen is to vote (among the Americans this is mentioned just a couple of times) Why do you think it is so important for the French to be involved in the democratic process?

I also noticed that the Americans mention paying the taxes a lot more than the French. How do French see the taxes? Is it that you don't like them at all or just that they are so common that you did not think of mentioning them?

I agree with Ian that the French seem much more interested in actively participating in the notion of a democracy. For Americans, voter turnout is always a problem. For the presidential election of 2000, voter turnouts for each state were between 41% and 69%. This averages to about 50% for the country. Canadian voter turnout is around 60%, while the French averaged 72% in 1995.

Some of this comes from the slightly flawed American system of electing a president. Each state has a certain number of electors in the Electoral College. This number is equal to the senators plus the representatives. Every state has 2 senators but the number of representatives depends on population. There are two parties, the Democratic party and the Republican party. Whichever presidential ticket, Democrat or Republican, gets the most popular votes in a state wins all the electors of that state. Traditionally, Masschusetts is always won by the Democrats by a large margin for the presidential election. Thus, the voters of the state feel it is unnecessary to go and vote. If you have more questions, please ask.

I call the system flawed because Massachusetts had 12 electoral votes in the last presidential election with a population of 6,300,000. Two votes come from the two senators and the other ten come from the ten representatives. This makes person worth 1/525,000 of an electoral vote. Montana had three electoral votes with 900,000. Each person is thus worth 1/300,000 of an electoral vote. So each person in Montana is worth about three people from Massachusetts by my rough calculation. That's just surplus information that you may find interesting.

It seems the french notion is to be active politically, for the entire country, by voting, whereas americans tend to think in terms of smaller communities, and helping out on a more personal level. Could it be because americans are more concerned with their immediate surroundings so that they have less time for the larger society, and the french vice versa?

Ian et Angela, je pense que si nous sommes si nombreux à avoir envisagé un bon citoyen comme quelqu'un qui vote et qui est actif politiquement, c'est à cause des récents événements politiques en France. Vous savez peut être qu'en mai, aux élections présidentielles, Le Pen, un dirigeant de l'extrème droite xénophobe et anti-européenne, est arrivé second dans les votes. Beaucoup de gens, surtout des jeunes, n'étaient pas allé voter. Cet événement a véritablement traumatisé beaucoup de gens dans le pays et je pense que le lendemain, tout le monde a pris conscience de l'importance que peut avoir son vote...
Timmy, je trouve ton explication sur le système électoral américain très intéressante: y a t'il des protestations dans l'état du Massachusett contre ce système? Le trouvez vous injuste?

No, as far as I know, there have never been protests against the electoral college system. I don't really know why. I guess it all originates from the Constitution and the idea of a bilateral legislature. The Senate has always represented the smaller states, while the House of Representatives always represents the larger states, as there are two senators per state and the number of representatives depends on population. It is also so difficult to make changes to the such core components of the system that it is almost not worth it to pursue. I think 3/4 of the states are necessary to ratify amendments to the Constitution. These are just thoughts my friends and I throw around when we're not busy with work.

An interesting impression which seems to emerge from the word choices is that the French view citizenship in concrete terms i.e. voting, respecting people and laws, paying taxes. Among Americans, on the other hand, there is a notion of sentimental attachment to the nation - they speak, for example, of believing in the country or being patriotic.

So is it true that the French believe that one is a citizen because of what one does, not what one thinks? Or is the notion of nationalism implicit and unstated.

Another point - some of you have mentioned 'integration in society' as a prerequisite to citizenship. Does this mean that to be considered a citizen, one must have many friends and be popular?

Benoit, i'll add to Timmy's comment that part of the idea of having two senators per state regardless of its size comes from the creation of the US. I think that the initial government wanted small or underpopulated states to join the Union without feeling left out of the decision process. I don't think people complain too much about it these days. They do complain that there are only two parties they can vote for, and they are pretty much the same, or very similar.

I know that in France and in Europe in general there tend to be more parties than just two. Do you think this is a good idea? Does each party really have voters or they end up being only two big ones just like here?

What is the French concept of patriotism? I don't really associate being patriotic with being a good citizen. In many ways, I associate patriotism with superficial things... flag waving, song singing, etc. And sometimes I associate it with harmful things. For example, supporting Bush in all of his decisions because doing otherwise would be un-patriotic. Is there any similarity between the French and the American concepts of patriotism? Does all of our flag-waving just seem foolish and/or harmful to you?