Friday, March 11, 2016

Losing Optimism

I sat last night....scanning German stations on TV.  For a brief while, I watched SWR (the state-run network for Baden-Wurttemberg) and watched some last ditch effort by the political players to affect the Sunday election.  It was mostly talk about how you really don't want to go radical and vote AfD.....letting you know that this really wouldn't fix anything.  You kinda wondered with this logic....WHAT would fix things?

Then I skipped over to another channel with a last ditch effort by the political players to affect the Rhineland Pfalz election on Sunday.  It was mostly talk slamming the AfD (anti-immigrant party) that they don't have the interest of the people in their heart and soul.  It was a five-to-one deal....with the moderator just standing there and half-way grinning.  I watched this for five minutes max.

Then I flipped over to ARD (channel one, state-run national TV) where the news started at 9:45PM and there were four lengthly bits which concerned immigrants stuck in Greece trying to cross over into Macedonia, the Turk-deal to help the poor immigrants, and two other pro-refugee pieces.  I'd take a guess that fifteen minutes were tied up into the four stories, and it was slanted to the degree that they wanted you to be fairly heart-broken over the sad and tragic story.  The thing you were just a small bit negative about the whole episode.....between the two political talks, and this bit on ARD....then you were pretty much fed up with the standard message by the political players.  In some ways, Thursday night would have flipped another percent or two over to the AfD and their anti-immigrant angle.

As much as the journalists think they are doing some good deed and making people shape their thinking to one image.....they've screwed up the nature of news.  A growing number of Germans just don't buy into this gimmick.

Sunday night's election results, I think, will go several points higher than expected for the AfD, and the news people will stand there and just try to blame people because they didn't "get" the message.  As much as they might hate it....they herded people into this direction and there's not much to feel happy about.

The amusing side to this is that any of the major parties (CDU, SPD or Linke) could have sat down after Christmas and noted that none of this make financial sense and is draining tax revenue at a fair rate.  Figure a minimum of ten billion Euro will be spent this year, and maybe another five billion in hidden job or education training, with at least 1.5 billion going to this six-billion EU 'donation' to Turkey (so they will stop the flow).  Those parties could have refocused the problem....put in limits, and done something that established a doorway which would be absolutely shut.  They didn't want to change the they are stuck with this ongoing election issue.

You much as journalists will say that Sunday's election ends a good bit of simply opens the door for the next two state elections in the fall. Two more German states will now see more attention to the issue, and feel some heat over Berlin policy.  Each point that the AfD a loss of some type to the percentage that the CDU and SPD would have enjoyed.

When you get to November of 2017, and you have four political parties in the 20-percent range, you will end up with some weak government, where radical right meets radical left, and extremists and anarchists emerge.  Why would you do something that stupid?

One might hope that things improve by the end of this year, but I'm just not that optimistic anymore.

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