I figure that whatever it was the Krauts said to so upset all the Right people, they must be on to something.
And sure enough, though the language was overbroad in parts of the Der Spiegel opinion piece, I thought this part of it could not have been more right.
If not Right.
But what is more appalling still, what is more shocking on so many levels, is the state of the nation -- the political stupidity of entire federal states and systems that seem hell-bent on self-destruction. Europe and the United States are much farther apart than many Europeans think. The US is different, completely and utterly different. Americans have a completely different understanding of social solidarity and the duties of the state. But there are also contradictions. Millions of Americans want to reduce the power of the government, because that's the way their countrymen have always thought. Yet these same Americans want their president to lead them out of crisis. They want railway stations, schools and clean energy, but they don't want to pay taxes. They are the descendants of immigrants, and proud of it, and they oppose immigration.SOMETIMES, distance provides clarity. And always, not actually being in the middle of a nervous breakdown is the best perspective for determining that a nervous breakdown is what's ailing someone.
Decades of prosperity have made the US a lethargic country. And in contrast to Europeans, whose lives and countries have been shaped by war, Americans are accustomed to feeling unique and invulnerable. They therefore react with near paranoia to a powerful China or a black president. Americans know they need change, yet they fear change. Such attitudes may be called schizophrenic. They're certainly a recipe for hysteria.
The older, conservative German demonstrators who have recently been taking to the streets to protest against the controversial "Stuttgart 21" railway station project are the product of demographic change and their own fears. But the German protesters look absolutely harmless compared to America's hate-mongers, gun freaks and Tea Party demagogues who first compare Obama to Hitler and then minutes later to Stalin. They are people so filled with vitriol they can no longer think straight -- people like television presenter Glenn Beck, who says that putting the common good first is "exactly the kind of talk that led to the death camps in Germany." Beck has millions of followers, and appears in public with former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin, the darling of the Tea Party movement, who gleefully pronounces Obama's middle name Hussein as if it were a naughty, menacing word. Just two years ago, such things would have been taboo, and considered below-the-belt by Republicans.
This is the new atmosphere in America, and it is reflected in the Senate and the House of Representatives, two self-confident bodies populated by two political parties that eagerly take turns holding the reins of power. They paralyze themselves with rules that demand unattainable majorities for everything that is important. And even the Constitution irrevocably decrees that a senator from sparsely-populated Alaska has the same rights as a senator from New York.
The German media alternate on a daily basis between talking about "Obama's victory" and calling him a "loser." But often neither view is accurate, because the president has little or no influence over much of what is done, or not done, in the US and its 50 federal states.
Of course the American media is largely responsible for the impression people get of President Obama as well as the state of the nation as a whole. Fox News, Rupert Murdoch's TV news channel, has come to specialize in partisan mudslinging. Four of the potential future Republican presidential candidates are on Fox's payroll. The liberal channels are only different -- they are no longer any better. CNN has atrophied into a soapbox for journalist presenters. There is no analysis anymore on American TV, and little news -- only polemical attacks and shouting delivered in 90-second chunks.
In this regard, Klaus Brinkbäumer has identified the problem perfectly. His German readers ought to be worried that, in this case, the emotionally unstable basket case controls a big chunk of the global economy . . . and, by the way, is armed to the teeth with thermonuclear weapons.