Thursday, May 26, 2016

Empty Suit Syndrome

This is one of my essays over a phenomenon that I've come to observe about German people and culture.  It is an unsettling note.

German society comes to view the acts and behavior of the Berlin leadership (the federal level) as the all-mighty cog in the German wheel.  Germany cannot exist or progress.....without their involvement and daily actions to make Germany operational and productive.

But this has led the pubic over the past year or two....mostly because of immigration and integration question the competency and aptitude of those entrusted with leadership and authority.

If you go back and look at resumes of German leaders from the 1960s and 1970s (Willy Brandt, Helmet Schmidt, Helmet Kohl)....these were all guys who'd done time as mayors, or state governors, or had actual jobs with responsibility with actual companies.

At some point as you go into the then get to a point where you have more of the major players appearing in the Bundestag whose resume in life is mostly filled with political positions, lawyer work, attachments to consulting within the political world.  You can look at the resumes of both Gerhard Schroder and Chancellor Merkel.....on day one of their new job as head of state, and read off what amounts to a 3x5 card resumes.  If you toss in all the political achievements....maybe a half-page of accomplishments exists.  But if you were looking strictly at leadership qualities, decision-making opportunities, and resourcefulness....both were marginal performers.

Over the past twenty years of German politics, it's been a chaotic period where problems were admitted and less-than-perfect programs or solutions were enacted upon.  The general public would say that both centralist parties have done a less-then-perfect job and voice some negativity about what they see.

The positive side of this is that the German economy has been on positive ground for a number of years and unemployment hasn't consumed the public trust.

If you walked into a pub with a dozen Germans and brought up the topic of immigration or asylum.....most would voice some issue which bothers them, and drills down into the political establishment not being able to realize the problem until it's a page one of the newspaper.  They then fumble around to come up with a solution which the public will realize later....wasn't well conceived or thought out....but the only solution that was agreeable or acceptable within political boundaries.

The future?  That's the thing that makes the 'cog' to this wheel look suspect.  Neither of the center parties (CDU or SPD) can really put four-star players out for prospective voters to get peppy or charged up about.  If you were looking for political qualities, fine.  But once you start to look around for leadership or skills of management....there's this room of empty suits.

For those Germans frustrated.....taking your vote elsewhere?  For what?  You might cast a vote of frustration toward the Green Party, the Linke Party, the FDP or the AfD....but they present the same issue....empty suits.

I'm not going to say it's a pure German problem, because American voters are in the same state of resentment, and their alternate solution is Trump....whether it's wise or's a vote of annoyance with the system.

In the end, an empty suit just delivers some fake speech, a fraudulent appearance of a Sheppard over the flock, or some dynamic program of great cost but no apparent improvement.  It is the price of democracy.

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