Monday, September 27, 2021

The pusillanimous choice: Germany has decided not to try too much at once

Florian Gless 4 hrs ago | Germany has chosen the middle. So much so that almost everything there is averaging out. This election result is despondent, a decision against too much departure. Yet the country faces enormous challenges. "It just wasn't about the important, the big issues that particularly worry the younger people," says stern editor-in-chief Florian Gless© Picture Alliance/Arne Dedert/ "It just wasn't about the important, the big issues that particularly worry the younger people," says stern editor-in-chief Florian Gless After all, the AfD is no longer the largest opposition party. No matter who you spoke to in the capital last night, a grand coalition is considered out of the question. No one wants that. This means that one of the two former governing parties will lead the opposition in the future, one of the two - former - people's parties. Thus, the familiar order of the Federal Republic has been restored. Germany has chosen the center. So much so that almost everything there is now averaging out. The days of more than 30 percent seem to be over. The left is at five percent, the AfD somewhere around ten percent, and the remaining 85 percent is divided among the bourgeois establishment. Nothing is growing at the margins here. This sets Germany apart from many other countries, including its neighbors. And that is a good thing. But this election result is despondent. The country faces enormous challenges; it needs to set a course in energy policy, climate, pensions and care. We are lagging behind in digitization, in vaccinations, in the Bundeswehr. Germany is on the verge of missing the connection to the future. The British business magazine "Economist" has written a devastating review of the Merkel years: Germany may look like a whirring luxury car, but under the hood the signs of years of doing nothing are unmistakable. (The magazine stern also pointed out these shortcomings in its eight-part series "Neustart Deutschland"). It was not about the important, the large topics How important was this election in order to lose no more time! And how absurd in relation to it the election campaign. The floods in the Ahr valley and in the Eifel could have been a gift for the Greens. The effects of the real existing climate crisis could not have been shown more forcefully: Dear people, this is how it is! For a few days, each and every German had really understood how serious the situation is. But Annalena Baerbock preferred to complain about sirens not wailing, apparently worried about causing irritation with too much climate alarm, there, in the bourgeois center. Nevertheless, the flood left a historical footnote by making Armin Laschet, a good prime minister, the laughing third in the personal sympathy ratings. Meanwhile, Olaf Scholz smiled sybillinically and well-trained over his party's left. Anyone who prances so stately between Washington, Paris and the Ministry of Finance is absolutely electable, even for disappointed CDU supporters. In the end, 1.2 million people migrated from there to here. Who knows whether it would not have been even more without the CDU public prosecutor from Osnabrück, who could have waited several weeks with his search, but in any case not until after the election. The bottom line is that it was not about the important, the big issues that are of great concern, especially to the younger generation. And rightly so! The only one who always succeeds in directing attention to these issues was not allowed to become a candidate for chancellor. Robert Habeck is a man. The country has decided not to dare too much at once. A high-ranking SPD man says that people shouldn't be expected to take on too much, that it scares them. He seems to be right: Voters gave the most votes to a man who really doesn't stand for anything ("don't expect too much"). In second place, they voted for a man whose party, despite everything, many still think is the only one that knows how to do things. And then they split their votes (with the result that we have the largest parliament after the Chinese) and gave the power of kingmaker to the third and fourth place finishers. Baerbock, Habeck and Lindner will now decide who becomes chancellor. Now the waiters are taking over. The time it takes to come to terms with this will be missed elsewhere.