Toward the end of 2015 in Germany....when the immigrant number for the year was approaching a million-plus entries....someone put up a response to some German state-run TV journalist piece.....suggesting that if these were half-a-million Italians immigrating into Germany.....things would be different (meaning more easily accepted by the public). For months, this thought has been on my mind.....except it wasn't Italians that I was considering. It was Americans.
In my "fantasy".....with the great immigration and migrant surge into Germany, I took the idea and have pondered through it for months....that for 2015, there could have mostly Americans that entered, instead of Syrians and Iraqis.
How much trouble would the Americans gotten into?
Well, let's start with the reception centers do-gooder crowd coming out and offering coffee, water, etc. I have my doubts that they would have been as receptive as they were in this case. Naturally, if we'd walked from Greece up the trail.....maybe it would put us in a better situation....but Americans tend to do things differently. There would have been some History Channel reality show with five or six American refugees making the trek. We would have stopped and done two-hour interviews with various German reporters....discussing the landscape, weather, and the anticipated wonderland upon arrival in Germany.
The refugee centers? I think we would have stepped in and immediately started organizing things. There would have been the Committee for Morale, the Committee for Sanitation, the Committee for Disciplinary Matters, the Committee for Camp Improvements, etc. Americans are that way....we seem to take charge of matters and organize.....even when it's not really our affair to do so. German intellectuals would have been a bit hyped up and negative that we were organizing without their help.
The paperwork business? We would have asked if this was all necessary and then started to make recommendations. That fingerprint business? We would have suggested some Microsoft Ap on day one and explained how you could buy bulk licenses of it for X amount of money. The Germans would have been peeved about our suggestion business after a week of quality improvement ideas.
The gentle push into German language requirements for the visa? After a week, we would have come to die, der and das.....and just plain suggested that 'der' is enough and the rest of this is unnecessary. The stress level for German language instructors would have gone up a notch or two....with some blowing their lid and telling the American that they've had 10,000 years to work on the language and they know better than the idiot who just arrived six months ago.
Integration efforts? This would have smoothly until you got to some social issues....the TV tax, ID's required for voting, no stores open on Sundays, and too much bell-ringing.
The pool groping business? I doubt if we'd gotten into that kind of trouble, but American guys kinda like wearing cut-off's, which are deemed illegal at most German pools. And we tend to do some crazy stuff at pools which would have gotten us into serious life-guard issues.
As the months rolled by, I think Americans would have been quickly deemed as a group that wasn't easily accepted by the German intellectuals. The Greens, the Linke Party, the SPD.....they would have all stepped away and said that we just weren't the right people to allow to immigrate into Germany. We would have made ourselves....unwelcomed guests.
After pondering this fantasy....I also came to another nationality which I think would have gone and done the same things....and gotten the same results.....the British. Half-a-million Brits arriving in Germany and all heck would have broken out in six months, with a lot of angry and hurtful feelings with the Germans.
So in some ways....the Afghans, the Iraqis, and Syrians are well off. They got a free-pass or two, and didn't draw as much negative attention as some other groups might have done.
Maybe one day....some smart guy will sit down and analyze the heck out of nationalities and assign some value on integration values if X went to Y-country.
The reality though....is that there weren't half-a-million Americans immigrating into Germany. Maybe that's a good thing.