Usually when someone says this statement, they are about do something to really screw things up....especially if this is a German making the statement.
Well....if you go look at ARD (German public TV, Channel One) today, there's a new program they are developing.
The title is "Germany Speaks". ARD has been told by various folks, including President Steinmeyer.....that Germans are now developing into a society where they can't agree, or reach some conclusion.
What ARD wants to deliver is a program on 23 September where dialog occurs with 'regular' people (my humble interpretation of the statement).
So there's a survey (yep, they need a tool to select the invitees). I went through the questions. Is Germany better or worse than ten years ago? Is Trump good for America (which really has nothing to do with Germans but they had ask it)? Is the #metoo debate positive? Should we raise taxes meat to lessen the public consumption of it? Should we make inner cities auto-free? Can Muslims and non-Muslims live in the same society?
You would fill out these, and then they'd go and invite you to some regional group where the invitees would talk to this issue of two opinions being able to exist. Moderators? Well....they left that part out and I would imagine several ARD journalists will be there, along with several political folks, and there will be some shaping of the discussion to go a certain way....to suggest that everyone can live in some version of harmony.
The problems with this arrangement? One take a guess that out of a hundred working-class people....only five-to-ten percent will see the concept and read it. Filling out the survey? Probably less than one-percent. Intellectuals? I would suggest that 90-percent will see it and read it....with half of them performing the survey. The program representing society on the 23rd? Not exactly, but that's the best that ARD can really do. They were asked to perform a social service, and they will attempt it.
The general questions?
Germany better or worse than ten years ago? Germans over forty will say lean toward worse. I've heard some Germans over sixty, and remembering the old West German days....suggesting those were the best days in their lives. Younger Germans, particularly under thirty....will say things are probably great today.
The taxing meat issue to lessen consumption? Working-class Germans mostly laugh over that suggestion when it comes up. Intellectuals will say it's a good idea but doubt that it really solves much of anything. Germans in the Hartz IV class (poverty) will ask how they can afford meat, and there's no real answer.
The Trump question? Remember....the question was....is Trump good for America? If you work for ARD, ZDF or represent the intellectual class....the answer is no. Some Germans will point out that economy has significantly changed since early 2017. Some Germans also will say in public that they don't know why public TV news spends so much time on negative Trump-chatter. Some Germans might appear and ask the question instead....is Chancellor Merkel good for Germany, and find that sixty-percent of German society would like to see a replacement.
The Muslim question? I think it's a loaded question and one that will be heavily moderated. In general, I think half of German society can be pro-Muslim or see an open society. I suspect the other half asks a lot of questions and the harsher side of Islam is a problem for them.
The #metoo discussion? It just didn't take off that much in German social media circles. Journalists talked about it, but it didn't seem to be a top three topic among regular Germans.
So finally, you come to the inner-city car-free zone chatter. If you are a Green Party enthusiast....you absolutely want this fantasy city existing around, with no cars. The other segments of society? You might find twenty-percent of people who lean toward this idea, but the bulk of society don't see this coming for another fifty-plus years. The pro-car-free folks? They want rules, laws, and the 'herding' of society toward this.
I don't expect a lot out of this show, and would suggest that viewership will be fairly low. But it might be curious to hear the Trump story laid out and see how balanced they might be.