Thousands of Germans from all over the country have gathered together hand in hand to form a massive human chain and close out the year by loudly moaning and groaning about how victimized, underrepresented and politically powerless they are. I mean figuratively speaking, of course.

A new opinion poll has determined that only 18 percent of Germans feel that they have an actual political say in their lives. About 82 percent believe that the politicians they themselves have elected “do not take into account the interests of the people”, whatever that might mean. An overwhelming majority is unhappy with the very government they went out of their way to elect, in other words. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it the government they went out of their way not to elect, being that Germans obviously prefer to vote no, as clearly indicated by the poll results themselves.

That the country is currently enjoying a remarkable and completely unexpected economic boom, that unemployment is at its lowest level in over fifteen years and still dropping, that the Reformchen (little reforms) undertaken by the current coalition government, though meager, are already bearing fruit everywhere, none of this was represented anywhere in the survey. Or by any of the questions being asked, I should say.

The native on the street doesn’t like to hear questions like those being asked. They always leave him with the sneaking suspicion that he might not be as powerless as he thinks he is and, heaven forbid, free to take his life into your own hands as he chooses – and votes.

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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