German Of The Day: Vertrauensfrage

That means a question of trust – or a vote of confidence.

Happy German Unification Day or something.

Democracy thrives on trust. But especially in eastern Germany, this trust is dwindling – in politics, in the state. Why?

And it’s better in western Germany? Not really.

Only 39 percent of East Germans are satisfied with democracy as it functions in Germany. In the west, the figure is 59 percent. In the east, only about 32 percent believe that politicians care about the good of the country. In the west, the figure is 42 percent.

Confirm Your Prejudice Here

Germans still have walls in their heads? Why should that surprise anybody? Everybody else does, too. It’s just that the Germans are the only ones who have an excuse for it, sort of.

Wall

“Eastern Germans often say that western Germans are arrogant, materialistic, more bureaucratic and superficial.”

…But Eastern Germans aren’t the only ones still holding prejudices – western Germans have their own clichés about Germans from the former GDR. According to surveys conducted by leading opinion research centers, western Germans think Eastern Germans are sour, mistrustful and anxious. On the other hand, only 43 percent of western Germans considered eastern Germans “motivated” and “flexible.”

And both are right, of course. Hey, if you believe you are a second class citizen, then you are one. And if you believe you are the superior one who calls all the shots, then you are. But it’s kind of fun watching these folks slowly ride off into the East-West sunset. Both camps know quite well that they’re already von gestern (yesterday’s news). Or as Butt-Head used to put it: “Uh-huh, old people, uh-huh.”

“The second and third generations after the unification are much more optimistic, and see more equality between east and west. The proportion of those who think there are more differences than similarities between eastern and western Germans has continuously decreased over the past years.”

And have a happy Unification Day already.