If I Had A Vision I’d Go See My Doctor

Die Mitte (the middle) is where it’s at, folks. Well it’s certainly where I’m at. And you can’t have visions from here in the middle. I mean, I may not always know what I stand for but I always know where I’m standing..

Mitte

And that’s what Germans want, the middle. The middle of the middle, even. The middler the better. No meddling with the middle. We’re right in the middle of an election campaign, after all. Did you know that Mittelmaß (literally “the middle measure”) means mediocrity in German?

Sure, there was a little Abweichung (deviation) from the middle with that batshit crazy refugee number of mine. Quite a big deviation, actually. But I apologized. Sort of. And now I’m back home, smack dab in the middle of where you want me to be. Just call me. Mutti. Mutti in the middle.

See you on Sunday!

Perhaps the closest she came to setting out a vision was a year ago, as she presented this year’s budget in parliament. Germany, she said, has seen a lot of change since World War II, and “change isn’t a bad thing.” But she also vowed to defend the status quo in the broadest sense of the term: “Germany will remain Germany, with all that we love and hold dear about it.”

“Whoever has visions should go see a doctor.”
– Helmut Schmidt

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German Of The Day: Nichtwähler

That means non-voters.

Non-voter

And who do German non-voters vote for? Die Partei, of course.

Twelve straight years of Angela Merkel have left politics feeling a little dry for young people in Germany. But now a satirical party is experiencing a surge in popularity after it was set up as a joke at the expense of the old system…

In the last few months the party has seen its membership swell to reach more than 25,000, just shy of the 26,000 members of the rising and much-publicised extreme-right party Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD), which is expected to enter parliament for the first time this year.

Nichtwähler wählen: Die Partei.

German Of The Day: Certainly Not Here

Not in this English newspaper.

Sun

It’s kind of German, I guess. But it’s certainly not very kind to the German language.

Es ist Zeit für die Erwachsenen, Angela Merkel und Emmanuel Macron, die Verhandlungsführer durch den Hals zu ergreifen und Sie zu stoppen verschwenden Zeit mit Punkt-Scoring. Das ist zu wichtig.

A pro-Brexit editorial written in German has a problem: It’s literally gibberish.

German Of The Day: PARTEI

PARTEI officially stands for “Partei für Arbeit, Rechtsstaat, Tierschutz, Elitenförderung und basisdemokratische Initiative,” or “Work, Rule of Law, Animal Protection, Elite Promotion, and grass-roots democratic Initiative.”

Partei

Finally, a political party for the rest of us. I mean, you.

“If it doesn’t matter to you who sits in the Bundestag, wouldn’t it be great to be represented by someone who could care less that he does sit there?”

What I like about a satirical party like the Party is that its meaninglessness, as compared to the meaninglessness of a number of serious political parties here, has a meaning.

As for its campaign goals, Die Partei’s election manifesto is replete with meaningless political platitudes pushed to the edge of absurdity: “Die Partei supports the implementation of all-encompassing, universal, total justice, at least twice as much justice as the SPD (Social Democratic Party). Any complaints about supposed injustices will be suppressed with the utmost force.”

„Wenn es dir egal ist, wer im Bundestag sitzt, wäre es dann nicht schön von jemandem vertreten zu werden, dem es egal ist, dass er im Bundestag sitzt?“

German Of The Day: Angst

That means angst. And here is the latest German angst check:

Angst

Terrorism wins again. But does it really? German Angstforscher (angst scientists – how could they be anywhere else but in Germany, right?) point out that terrorism, for example, is a socially accepted angst that everybody can openly get all angst-like about, without getting any angst about getting any extra angst on top of that. The real close up and personal kinds of individual angst, however, that’s a different matter. People don’t like to talk about that kind of angst because they have too much angst to do so. I have angst, for instance, that these angst studies are creating more angst about angst than they need to. And that frightens me.

“Man weiß, dass es sich bei der Terror-Angst um eine sozial akzeptierte Angst handelt. Die Leute berichten doch nicht gerne einem Menschen in einer Telefonumfrage über ihre ganz individuellen Ängste, die sie sonst allenfalls mit den engsten Freunden und Familienangehörigen teilen.”

Russians Hack German Vote-O-Meter In Futile “Trump For Chancellor” Bid

Germany’s infamous Wahl-O.Meter app, a popular program that uses a series of questions to help undecided German voters (some 50 percent of the electorate) find the political party that suits them best, has been compromised by a group of mean and nasty Russian hackers, apparently in a vain attempt to get Donald Trump elected Chancellor of Germany.

Wahl

Unfortunately, however, there is no such thing as a direct ballot for the office of German Chancellor so that “went into the pants” (was a complete flop), as the Germans like to say. But you can’t blame those clever Ruskies for not trying.

Since its inception 15 years ago, the Wahl-O-Mat’s main focus has been to mobilize younger voters. In fact, all 38 questions posed in the app chosen by a group of young and first-time voters. “Young people have contributed towards this product, which is aimed at furthering the political education,” Krüger said. “That is what lies at the very core.”

German Of The Day: Familienzusammenführung

That means family reunification. And that is what 390,000 Syrian asylum seekers in Germany have now been granted.

Familien

Meaning? Meaning, of course, that 390,000 Syrian families (families, not individuals) still in Syria will now be given asylum in Germany, too (probably to include Cousin It, Uncle Fester und the neighbor’s dog). They will only be staying here temporarily, however. Just like the first wave that organized this second one, see? So it ain’t no big deal or anything. And the German government has money to burn. Or sure seems to.

390 000 Syrer dürfen ihre Familien nachholen.

Germans Worried About Low Angst Level

Concerned about the traditional German angst about sozialer Abstieg (personal social decline) is currently at an all-time low, a number of German angst experts are recommending that radical options be considered when next month’s election rolls around.

Hafen

“We could all vote for the SPD, for instance,” said one less than thoroughly angst-filled social worker, with a stress on social. “That would bring my angst about social decline shooting back to appropriate levels in no time. I’m not sure if I’m quite ready for the Left party yet, though. I do have heart problems, after all.”

Die Wirtschaft wächst – und die Deutschen fühlen sich so sicher wie seit fast drei Jahrzehnten nicht. Laut einer Erhebung der Universität Leipzig hat nur noch jeder Dritte Abstiegsängste.

PS: To help folks combat their angst about not having enough angst, somebody has introduced Donald Trump ecstasy pills over here. They are guaranteed to stick in any German throat that tries to swallow them, however.

German Of The Day: Heimaturlaub

That means home leave. And boy oh boy is Germany ever sticking to its guns on this one. When it comes to being super-mega-ultra strict about paying for asylum seekers’ vacation trips back home, that is.

Vacation

As German Integrationsbeauftragte (integration commissioner) Aydan Özoguz (SPD) explains, Germany doesn’t foot the bill for just any asylum seeker. They have to be Ausnahmefällen (exceptional cases) before the German tax payer will be asked to send them on an all expenses paid flight back home – and back again.

Someone’s mother dying would be such an exceptional case, for instance. Anybody’s mother (it doesn’t have to be your own). Or maybe your ex-neighbor’s dog is suffering for an ingrown toenail. Or maybe you forgot to bring your favorite bowling ball with you when you were on the run and now you have the urgent need to go pick it up. For integration purposes, of course. You know, exceptional cases like that.

I’m not making this up, people. Not all of it anyway.

“Es kann gewichtige Gründe geben, warum ein anerkannter Flüchtling für kurze Zeit in seine Heimat reisen will.”

And They Speak Such Funny Englisch, Too

“It drives me up the wall the way waiters in Berlin restaurants only speak English,” one popular German politician has recently been quoted as saying. In Berlin. In German.

English

And I couldn’t agree more. Although the German government may have made it compulsory for asylum seekers to learn German, this rule unfortunately does not apply to EU residents and others who have come here to live and work and, well, it’s understandable that some Germans are mad as hell about it and aren’t going to take it anymore.

The English these waiters speak, you see, is often done so by natives (UK folks, Canadians, Australians, even the occasional US-Amerikaner or two) and therefore practically impossible for most Germans to understand.

“Vat do they mean with ‘coming right up’ or ‘you bet?’ Vat does betting have to do wis my order? If zhey are going to speak zheir language here zhey should at least have the decency to do so properly, verdammt nochmal!”

Germans are too relaxed on the issue and that it would never happen in Paris.