'Member way back when, when the little village on the hill got all excited about new elections? How the little village on the hill was really looking forward to having a group of people who would work to make things better, really work to improve life around these parts?
Well, that all went tits up.
Small town politics, regardless of where small town might be or what language small town might use, always seems to make people go insane. Especially when you get elected to a small town council. It's like you've been given the right to act like either a king or an idiot or some sort of freakish combination of the two.
We weren't spared. Let's just make a really long story that has more twists and turns in it than Dallas, short by saying we had to have new elections because three of the council members decided they didn't want to share their toys any more. Their opposition on the council decided that throwing sand was then an effective method of communication to which those of us who have spent any time with toddlers in a sand box will argue is just plain stupid.
Alors, that brings us to this last weekend where those of us able to vote in the village, me not included since I'm still not European, had to meander up to the Mairie and vote for three new people. Again lists were presented and options given. The opposition group was banking hard on the whole, "Vote-for-These-Three-Because-They-are-FROM-Here,-Really,-Really-FROM-Here" approach that I'll admit I found a little hard to warm to.
The other three candidates used the "Well,-We-Weren't-Born-Here-But-We-Sure-as-Hell-Like-It-Here-a-Lot" approach and I think they actually stuck a nerve. Turns out there are quite a lot of people in this little old village on the hill that weren't born here. A lot of people who speak the same language as those that were, but don't have the 100 dead rellies in the cemetery yet to prove how really attached they are to this place.
It's hard for me to be sympathetic to the opposition. Hubster and I weren't born here, we are definitely not "from" here, but my God, our children are. Once again I've found myself having to remind some of the older residents of the village on the hill that this, this place, this life, this is all The Princess, Bubba-Love, Mini-Husband, and Rosie know. They, with crazy foreign parents and all, are from here.
Luckily, we aren't alone. The winning three are the folks who aren't "from" here. All three of them were born in other parts of France, have lived in other cities and towns far away from this mole hill, but who now call this place home. And it is. As it should be. Home.
When you find a place you care about, when you really attach yourself to somewhere just because it feels absolutely right, does it matter if your family is buried there or not? Does it matter if no one knows your uncle Steve and his really horrible puns? Or about that time that you smashed your car into a tree on the night your sister got engaged? Or have photos of you and your prom date wearing nappies in the front garden? Does it really matter that your accent might be slightly different?
You live here because you want to. And because you just happen to like it here so much, you want it to be a better place. For everyone in the village. Old farts and sand throwing retirees included.
We'll see how things go. I'm not expecting anything to be easier with our town council this time around, but I'm at least hoping there might be some room for conversation. What's the point of wanting to help a village survive if you aren't willing to learn from it's past? And most importantly, embrace it's future?