Commentary “germany speaks”: the main thing is to be human

Zeit Online recently organized "Germany Speaks". Aha. But who actually is "Germany"? And what is spoken there?

"Exchange with dissenters" Photo: rawpixel/Unsplash

When a 68-year-old TV presenter asks a 44-year-old senior editor in a public news studio with a serious look whether "analog conversation" is "still in keeping with the times" – at the latest then it is clear that something is very wrong here.

Where the cognitive dissonance is so great that the gap bursts the screen, it is promptly not far away: the "division of society". Hell! Oh, Mr. Federal President, you here too? And where is Mother Theresa?

So "Germany" is "speaking". But who is "Germany"? And what is spoken there?

Success stories are what are sent and reported by the "nationwide action". "In the details we had quite different views (specifically the topic of refugees and sexism), but in the basic things we were surprisingly of one mind," writes, for example, the "24-year-old student Janike Bolter from Berlin" of the Tagesschau on the Internet.

In the end, you always get along great

Refugees and sexism? Sure, marginalia. The main thing is to get along. Across all camps! "There is a lack of communication in society, the media polarize too much (…). One of their findings accordingly: to think less in black and white themselves. ‘Just because it appeals to the AfD, it’s not right-wing and should be discussed, that also takes some wind out of their sails.’"

"Germany speaks": with what? Of course, A, B, C, stop! A – as in "exchange with dissenters." The main thing is to be human. German man, of course. But how different can the dissenters actually think, if in the end you always get along great and in the ‘core’ the "views (…) were often the same", as "Lisa Rocke from Hildesheim" writes to the Tagesschau?

How contrary can the positions be, if 85 percent of the participants already thought that "Muslims and non-Muslims" can "live together well" in "Germany"? And what kind of dispute is this supposed to be, at the end of which, above all, there is the big, perfect community in which everyone loves each other, everyone "understands" each other?

"Germany speaks": why? Because it has always spoken, cannot do otherwise. Integration debate, migration debate, wind turbine debate, bicycle debate, draft debate, debate debate. Divide, divide, double divide, cross divide, longitudinal divide, straight divide.

Never does it stop, the talk

But unlike usual, the normals, who were brought in for self-authentication, are not just sitting gurgling in the talk show audience or at the respective storm location, so that even the last person is still aware that this really took place; no – the normals, they are now "speaking" themselves.

And thereby only the same word garbage resounds against itself, which politicians, Tagesschaus and di Lorenzos of this country give anyway already constantly from itself. Even if sometimes in a surprising sequence: "’Moin tagesschau!’, writes Lorenz Stellmacher. His three-hour conversation took place in a small cafe near Lubeck’s city hall: ‘We understood each other immediately.

Important topics of their conversation, he says, were right-wing extremism – and the question of how to further develop traffic planning in large cities. Stellmacher’s conclusion: ‘I’m very satisfied with the meeting.’" The talk goes on and on, it never stops, the talk, the people, the life, the division of society. However, it has not become smaller (according to all that one hears). Rather, it has become even larger.

"Germany is talking about what? Others have set the topics. Trump, Islam, traffic, asylum – selected by Zeit Online and its ten cooperating media houses. The blessed center is debating about finally debating what it has always been debating about. As few sheep as possible are supposed to get away from it and get silly ideas from all the discussions, even draw conclusions.

Thundering of lost lambs

Like the one that perhaps something must change fundamentally at the so much-invoked "society".

Or that all the "hatred" that is now to be combated by standardized speech in front of and behind editors’ clades in a grassroots manner is possibly not a thunderous roar of lost and seduced lambs that suddenly burst out of the dark night, but comes entirely from their midst.

"Germany speaks. It would be better to remain silent.

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