Plague Beats Cholera

That was a debate? I’d say that’s debatable.

Debate

Aren’t these two the heads of the parties that form the current coaltion government in Germany? What on earth are two people who are condemmed to agree about everything they do going to debate about? That’s right. Nothing. And that’s what we got last night. A whole lot of it.

German of the day: Schnarch. That means snore.

The leaders of Germany’s two biggest parties went head to head on TV for the only time ahead of the September 24 vote. Merkel and Schulz sparred on topics ranging from migration to foreign policy.

 

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US-Amerika In Decline Yet Again

Clearly disappointed in last night’s debate for some inexplicable reason, one leading German mind policeman has hurried to remind his countrymen that the United States is still, after all, a “global power in decline” which now appears to be “stuck in the Bush worldview,” whatever that is.

A buddy of his at the same German news organ also rushed to explain that President Obama, being a man of peace or something, did not want to have to fight and get all rude during the debates like he did but that the “unexpectedly close race” forced him to. I tell ya, life just ain’t fair sometimes.

With his centrist policies, Barack Obama tried to be a president for all Americans. But few in Washington were enthusiastic about his attempts to reach bipartisan compromise.

Romney Still Bad

Germans weren’t fooled one minute by Mitt Romney’s impressive performance during the first presidential debate (just see photo below).

And now they are being reassured by German Presseorgane (press organs) that the sudden, completely unexpected and, well, near miraculous drop in the American unemployment rate to 7.8% will ensure that the right guy (as in left guy) will get re-elected after all.

Alles wird gut (everything will fall into place). Alles wird gut… Oder?

Noch nie wurde ein US-Präsident bei einer Arbeitslosenquote über acht Prozent wiedergewählt.

German “Critical Thinking” vs. American Debate Culture

Here is another interesting German commentary by American Eric T. Hansen in Die Zeit.

I’d like to translate it all, but I can’t, so I won’t (no time). Here are a few highlights, though:

Critical thinking does not allow for self-criticism. Where would we be then?

Critical thinking is not debating, it’s finding concensus, or, as I call it, harmony nagging (Harmonienörgeln): Two people criticize a third person so long until the two become friends.

If I want to hear a new or even a different perspective on something, I have to turn to the Anglo-American press. Regarding certain questions – for instance whether nuclear energy, genetically modified corn or having Mitt Romney as president might also have certain advantages – many of my German friends are not even aware that two sides to these arguments even exist.

I too understand Mitt Romney’s positions quite well and suspect that he would make just as good (or bad) a president as Obama. In America that makes me an intellectual. In Germany that makes me a right-winger.

Everything is so serious for the Germans, and they need to know immediately: “Who is my friend, who is my enemy?” For Americans and their debate clubs, however, there is always an element of playfulness involved.

Auch ich verstehe die Positionen eines Mitt Romney gut und ahne, dass er ein ebenso guter (oder schlechter) Präsident wie Obama wäre. In Amerika macht mich das zu einem Intellektuellen. In Deutschland macht mich das zu einem Rechten.