This has been an odd week with German political folks trying to each get their piece in about the violence, the threats, the immigration issues, and the way ahead.
I saw a bit of a state-run TV chat forum from Thursday night.....where the moderator had the head of the German Green Party on....Cem Ozdemir. While I disagree with about ninety percent of the Green platform and chatter.....I'm at least open to hear the conversation because occasionally they will throw one spectacular good idea out there which deserves examination.
Ozdemir came on to mostly hype up the failure of Germany's refugee program.
Since that point, it's been in the news a fair amount and discussed to the point where you sit and ponder.
What the Greens tend to point out is that the whole effort behind the immigration 'open-door' policy has been a hollow phrase....when some idiot say "wir Schaffen das"....(meaning we can do it)....it's just some slogan or phrase that journalists can take and whip up forty lines over. It doesn't mean anything.
When the German butcher off-loads forty hogs for his weekly production situation....he'll proclaim loud and clear to this three helpers....'we can do it'.
When some trucker is given a hectic schedule for the next five days of long-haul trucking....he'll likely utter 'we can do it'.
When some soccer coach has been hired over a rough crowd of marginal players and the hopes of taking them to some championship....he'll utter 'we can do it'.
Ozdemir went one step further in his conversation.....he said he felt shamed by Germany's failure. In his mind, Germany could have done a better job....focused their assets better....prevented the right-wing growth.....and reshaped the immigration situation into a successful pattern.
Look....you had three basic elements that conflicted. First, you had the Constitutional rule that said you had to offer asylum, immigration, or refugee status....to anyone who crossed the border and asked for it. Whether it took one month or twelve months for this paperwork came to occur, with success or failure.....you had no choice because it's written into the law. And the law never specified that there was a limit per year, or there were considerations of cost involved. The law, as written, guaranteed a marginal program.
The second element of failure is that journalists got involved and made this a 'crusade' of sorts. You were on a great and epic journey to save people, and show the kindness of German culture. For almost two entire years....Germans got this dose daily and were continually reassured, even when screw-ups and problems started to occur. The diesel guys at Volkswagen would beg for that kind of journalism to their favor.
And the third element of failure was the education required and limited job potential. Maybe a quarter of the incoming crowd did have a degree or craft that was easily worked for a job. But the remaining three-quarters? They'd have to get training (at some cost) and be covered for three years while in this status. The kids involved? They are behind the power-curve and will be that way for the majority of their life. The German system wasn't prepared for them, and it probably will never be a plus-up for them.
A decade from now.....a bunch of folks will be writing books over Merkel's open-door idea, and how Germany failed to make it work. People will claim lessons were learned but I doubt if these are the lessons that you'd want to brag about or openly discuss.
The thing about the Green Party position is that they really do want to make the immigration program work, and will continue the trend. The Linke Party is in full agreement....or at least three-quarters of their membership feel that way. I suspect that most within the SPD still feel some charm toward we can do it....and helping immigration survive. If you add it up....somewhere around thirty-five percent of the nation is still hoping it'll succeed. The rest? Mostly shaking their heads and wondering what the final bill will be when this is finished, and frankly.....they also feel shamed but it's a different variety than what the Greens feel.