Democracy and its people

Writing a weblog is fairly easy. You watch some television and internet sites, the subconscious mind creates a text and suddenly (after a night’s sleep) your conscious mind observes that you are creating a new weblog entry. Wow. You only have to edit it, that is the hard work.

Today, September 22 2013, Germany has its vote on parliament. Maybrit Illner, in her broadcast “Kampf ums Kanzlerambt” of last Thursday, presented us with the options. Invited were only political observers and not the politicians themselves, which helped, since otherwise each would have to speak about “mein Kampf”. Somehow, the language doesn’t quite survive WW II. I am happy to understand German fairly well and speak it at kindergarten level, and when I meet Germans they are the kindest people, but it still remains the best option that they all switch to English – also adopting the English sense of humour (see the Heute Show).

Most of Maybrit’s guest were people of Angela Merkel’s and my age (1954). An exception was Andrea Hanna Hünniger (1984). Andrea has a background in Eastern Germany like Angela Merkel too. I hope that both will get to understand the economics of integrating the DDR into Germany. The way how East Germany was treated back then compares to how Greece, Spain and Portugal are treated now – accept that Germany doesn’t want to carry the burden now. Southern Europeans may be people but aren’t “German”. East Germany still isn’t performing economically as it should, but they are still “German”. Perhaps “German” means “having a different sense of humour”.

Andrea herself is a pretty tough lady too. The parties do not represent her and thus she does not vote. It is said that perhaps 35% if the Germans are undecided. The new party AfD still struggles to get 5% of the vote which is curious given the earlier report on euro-scepticism. The major parties CDU/CSU, SPD and FDP succeed in rocking German voters asleep, including Andrea, whose toughness is limited to a fairly short horizon.

In my analysis on (optimal) democracy, there would be no barrier of 5% and all major parties would be represented in the executive. Thus there would always be a coalition government. Each party would have a chance at trying to get a proposal passed by parliament. Thus the German discussion about what coalition would rule is misconceived too. Europe suffers from weak democracies that exclude the opposition from government.

A few hundred kilometers in the South, there is Greece. I chanced on a youtube page on an old concert by Charis Alexiou. This is back from the times when the Greek were happy merely by singing and dancing, and didn’t insist on euro subsidies. The recording is crummy, most importantly in the music too. You have to allow that it grows onto you. You see Greek dancing the sirtaki on their chairs. Now you understand why they hold on to each other: so that they don’t fall. You see little children still awake at this late hour, learning how to snap their fingers. You see people in the background, seemingly hanging in the air but actually on a hillside having come in to listen. There are women singing, knowing the songs as well as Charis. There are policemen sternly watching for un-Greek behaviour. You see the violin player leading the band, looking stern and aloof to make sure that his violin does not take over. You endure the hardship of  a bad recording. Finally, at minute 51, enchantment takes over. There is magic, full colour and 3D, you’re there, perhaps 35 years ago, one with Charis and her crowd. It lasts till the song ends. The mind struggles with the reality of the crummy recording and the language that it just learned of translating it. There are the two singing sisters and the women in the audience that take control. Then at 1.18 Charis discovers the power of the tambourine again and reigns supreme again.

The Greek seem locked up in their country now but should be all over Europe, singing and dancing: “We are people too, remember ?”


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