Photo by Fred Jaugstetter (CC BY-SA 3.0)
It seems like, for the last few decades, we've not appreciated certain qualities in our leading politicians: not being a fevered narcissist dipped in orange currently counts as a real plus. Some of us are ready to vote for anyone who can hold a single thought in their head from the beginning of a sentence to the end. In these febrile times, when every teenage fool with a knife and a flag gets rewarded with an online live-ticker on which reporters are happy to embed tweeted rumours rather than find out what's going on, I'm happy to drop my other criticisms and embrace Angela Merkel: don't worry about all the arms deals to Saudi Arabia, you're still the chancellor, and I don't think allowing refugees to live in a sports hall counts as treason.
The chancellor's news conference last Thursday was another masterclass in the dying craft of what happens when normal people are in charge of the government. Strangely, newspapers reported that her "Wir schaffen das" was a kind of brave cry of defiance, when in fact it just means "We'll manage it" – in other words, the government will do its job. It's still weird to read that Merkel has an "open door" policy on refugees after she's presided over three separate packages – all mainly penned by the conservative CSU – tightening asylum law that will make it a lot more difficult for new arrivals to integrate, and a lot easier for German authorities to deport them. Meanwhile, refugees in Berlin are still being shunted around from one shelter to another and still struggling to find accommodation, never mind get a job.
Merkel also used last Thursday's press conference to present her "nine-point plan" on security following the recent incidents in Würzburg, Ansbach and Munich. It mainly consisted of things that had already been planned (joint military and police anti-terror exercises) or extra surveillance on refugee homes, and faster deportations – which Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has been trying to get the states to do for months. This wasn't so much a "nine-point plan" as Merkel saying, "If any of you idiots had actually been LISTENING, we've been doing everything legally possible to keep immigrants out for at least 10 months, so chill the fuck out."
Oh well, seems like saying "We'll do our job" counts as a great humanitarian gesture/reckless act of treason in these Trump-infested times. Still, we'll take it for now.
Listen to more of this on News des Nachrichtens, Konrad's podcast with US comedian Drew Portnoy: