Thursday, April 06, 2006

we're not gonna take it...uh, wait, yes we are.

The French youth are making a stink about a new labor law allowing anyone under the age of 26 to be fired for no reason at all. Backed by unions, they've taken to the streets in traditional French riot fashion (remember when they set Paris in flames last year?). Earlier this week, it was reported that over one million protestors hit the streets. They've shut down college campuses, blocked roads, and pretty much given the old stinkfist to the French government.

Meanwhile, back here in the States, we have the at-will employment doctrine that allows employers to fire us at any time. Right now, as I'm typing this, my boss can walk in and say, "You ain't gotta go home, but you gotta get the hell out of this office - you're fired!" without any explanation. Fortunately there are, of course, exceptions to this rule which are discussed in detail: here. But if there's a sucker born every minute, then they must all live here because we seem to sit back and play catch bare-handed with the crap our government throws at us. I'm not advising we throw rocks at meter-maids, but after hearing about how active the French youth are, I can't help but think, "What happened to our fire?" We've got a lot of reasons to get heated, but very few are willing to strike a match.

Us MTV generation vote/boat-rocking angry youths won't even walk out of a classroom to protest increased college tuition; most wouldn't even throw confetti during a new year's eve parade (oh how we hate to litter). We talk bad, act tough, walk with a sharp edge but turn our dull backsides when it's time to really take a stand. With the exception of those participating in the immigration law protests, when's the last time we had a successful organized protest? We've let the equal opportunity in our privileged American oxygen get to our heads a little too much. The French youth are drawing national headlines for their rebellious actions; the world is seeing the class differences and oppression in France (it ain't all biscottis and croissants anymore homey).

What's up with our youth? Where's our activism?


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