Fuck Trump, Fuck the Far-Right and Fuck You If You Think It's OK
I really wanted to write something else. I wanted to write about Germany, flags and the World cup. I wanted to point out that although it is now common to celebrate Germany’s liberation of the black, red and gold in 2006, it is only one among many flags that can be seen fluttering in the breeze. I wanted to describe how on many streets, Germany’s rehabilitated national symbol sat happily among those of the French, the Senegalese and the Japanese. I wanted to joke about my expectations for England, that following my team was painful, possibly even masochistic, but it wouldn’t write. My wife told me to just stop, “it’s not work, it’s your hobby” she pointed out in her careful, but direct manner. She’s right, of course, because she usually is. The reason I can’t write what I want is that I’m distracted, so what follows is going to be unobjective and most likely, aggressive. It’s not balanced, it doesn’t think there is “good people on both sides”, in short, I am going to bellow into the dark reaches of the internet with impotent rage. If you came here for something nice about German culture, feel free to read one of the hundreds of other articles on this site, this one is going to be different.
First-off a disclaimer: I don’t subscribe to any political party, but I have two core beliefs: We must protect the weakest in society and whenever possible, avoid zealotry. Like many beliefs, it isn’t simple or clear, it doesn’t fit nicely into a box, it’s complex, but that’s how I live my life or at least try to. In addition, I can be selfish, I react angrily at times, I’m judgemental and I feel humongous regret when I let these two emotions guide my decisions. Yet, when it comes down to it, I revert to those two key guidelines: I don’t punch down and I don’t let politics get in the way of pragmatism. I have good days and I have bad days. Recently, there have been way too many bad days.
Since 2016, I have tried to remain positive. Like many among my friends, the apparent bubble in which I live, the events of that year and years since have knocked me side-ways. I have spent months trying to understand it, to not let political divisions ruin lifelong friendships and to try and bridge divides whenever it was possible. However, how long can that really last? The hand of friendship is hard to extend when those you wish to understand or befriend continue to move further and further away. Refugees have been lumped together as simply migrants, stripped of the legal rights that protect us all from oppressive and malevolent regimes. Politicians have thrown off the shackles of reality and have resorted to creating narrative after narrative, to explain away their extremism and to protect abhorrent views. Those who we would expect to speak truth to power, the media, have become complicit in this, amplifying lies and hate and selling it as patriotism. There are some holdouts of course, but increasingly they seem to in the minority.
It’s 2018 and America is locking up thousands of children, babies are placed in “Tender-Age” shelters. We crossed the Orwellian Rubicon along time ago, but that terminology should make all of us sick. Literal Nazis march in the streets and disinformation is spread by the morally bankrupt. Propaganda is spread like cow shit, equipping the ignorant and not so ignorant with fabricated sense of justification.
The UK government spends it’s time fluctuating between the imaginary and the surreal, while millions queue at foodbanks and thousands sleep on the streets. Instead of enacting change, instead of solving the problems that prevent tower blocks being engulfed in flames or extremists from spouting hate, they are sitting discussing a plan that will only make the country weaker and less able to help those who need it most. Corruption is rampant, clearly, but it can be ignored because it works for those in positions of power.
Here in Germany, where we have drastic need for infrastructure spending, where real change could be enacted, where we have billions of Euros in Tax surplus, the government is mired in horse trading. Zealots hold the government to ransom, in order win votes from xenophobes and racists. These same zealots bad mouth the weak and cosy up to would be dictators. I’ve only lived here for seven years, but I’m fairly sure party manifestos used to contain more than just offers to close borders and kick out Asylum seekers. Feel free to correct me on that one.
I want to be clear, immigration is a fake problem, it is a symptom, not the disease itself. Studies have shown there is a direct impact on migration from areas that are suffering most from climate fluctuations. Refugees, despite the rhetoric, are not the enemy. They are the most vulnerable of our global society, but we are still debating the topic. I am not blinkered, I am well aware that there are violent and disturbed people among these groups, but they are clearly the minority. Yet, if you listen to some, you would think that around every corner was a Muslim, a person of colour or a refugee ready to attack. There isn’t.
Despite my anger, I am an optimist. I believe we can be better, we always can. However, if we allow the fraudulent voices of extremism, on all sides, to dictate the global agenda, if we allow the fork tongued to promote hate, if we don’t speak up loudly, I fear we will walk into the abyss and there will really be no coming back.