Thoughts about the New Year

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The most recent elections in the United States and the Republic of Austria, as well as the outcome of the Italian referendum, leave us in awe at the end of the year. One can now safely assume that the Western world is also becoming more and more out of joint, because no citizenry seems to be able to come up with the right answers to the ever-increasing populism and the associated renaissance of nationalism and totalitarianism Find.

Actually, it should be known to everyone that democracy is the most difficult, most complex and also most labour-intensive form of government of all, but also and without question the most successful and the only one that gives every person the opportunity for their own participation and personal success.

It is therefore necessary to clarify why more and more of our fellow citizens want to give preference to supposedly simpler solutions and why they are increasingly questioning the established democratic structures. A supposed loss of trust in the existing structures is also often given as a reason - people apparently no longer believe that the "system" works for the individual citizen and completely forgets that we citizens are all the "system"!

I would like to put these doubting fellow citizens into three categories:

  1. the "eternal yesterdays", who had only ducked away since 1945/1989;
  2. politically very active fellow citizens who, for decades, have never managed to get their opinions and ideas accepted by a majority and now, completely frustrated, want to see the mistake in a supposedly false democracy and
  3. very comfortable people or people who are completely disinterested in society, who only suddenly become interested in society and democracy when there is a matter that is very relevant to them personally or at the end of their very private life and who, due to a lack of experience and knowledge, cannot really understand how it works.

But the parties and some politicians must also be seen as having some kind of complicity in the current situation. The former seem to be less and less able to present convincing candidates to the voters and the latter believe that they can escape the Sisyphean work of everyday democratic life by blinding and deceiving them and, for example, choose to do so. B. to be able to put things in the right light on talk shows.

On the one hand, they are playing into the hands of the disappointed or less well-informed citizens and, on the other hand, they are venturing into terrain that populists and totalitarians can do much better.

I believe that we citizens are quite powerless against the former group of fellow citizens. Because this group accepts neither facts nor arguments and also refuses a democratic debate. That is why the executive and especially the judiciary are required here to put all enemies of democracy in their place without ifs and buts!

In the second group, I see a particular challenge for our professional politicians, who on the one hand respect the protection and rights of minorities and on the other hand have to keep building bridges for these fellow citizens so that they continue to be part of the social discourse and definitely for the benefit of all.

In the third group, on the other hand, as responsible citizens, we are required to better integrate these fellow human beings into social processes and help them to compensate for their lack of experience and knowledge.

"I believe in human beings, but my faith is without sentimentality. I know that in environments of uncertainty, fear, and hunger, the human being is dwarfed and shaped without his being aware of it, just as the plant struggling under a stone does not know its own condition."

Pearl S Buck, Roll Away the Stone (January 22, 2010)

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