Meck-Pom & the election

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, for short Meck-Pom, is one of the federal states of Germany. Very popular for short trips, as it has a fine coast. Otherwise very rural, lots of farming.  A few lovely coastal towns. Lots and lots of beautiful countryside. I really love going there, whenever I can.


But, like Billy O’Connely once said about inland-Scotland, it is basically empty. Population diminishing ever since the Berlin Wall fell. The young and able seeking a career or excitement either in Hamburg, Berlin (both cities not far away) or elsewhere. Villages are dying out, farms and houses crumble. The state in Germany’s North-East has 1.6 million inhabitants (that’s about half the population of Berlin), that makes 69 people per square kilometer. 9% of which are unemployed. And (a guess of mine) 60% are older than 60. 3 point something percent of the population are foreigners. A big scare, huh?

Since Sunday, it is also clear, that more than 20% of the citizens voted for the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland), a new right wing protest party I detest. These people are disgusting. Blaming the Islam and refugees for basically everything going wrong in Germany. Their policies are bloodcurdling. And yet, more than 20% voted for this party, the first time they ran in this state. Now there is a huge uproar, as this is the first of a series of federal state elections, leading up to next years elections to the Bundestag. All of the established parties are scared, this might go on. The more right-wing, conservative ones trying to adopt as many policies from the AfD in their own programs as morally feasible (and sometimes even more), the rather left-wing parties choosing to either not speak with the AfD people at all, opposing everything, or trying to talk some reason into them (or their prospective voters), which seems to be futile. Of those voting for the AfD, a considerable amount doesn’t even want the AfD to govern, they just want to punish the established parties. And polls after the election suggest, that the refugee crisis is one of the main reasons behind the result.

But there are virtually no refugees in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (23.000, if I remember correctly). So why are people so frightened?

A young stand up comedian, Nico Semsrott, published a video, trying to explain, what he thinks of it. I really like his statement, so I’ll try and give you a translation.

“The helplessness of politics manifests itself in the sentence ‘We have to take the fears of the people seriously.’ Of course, we have to take the people themselves seriously, but not showcase their fears.  To someone with prosecution mania, we would never say: Yes, there are thirty people following you, run! We’d rather say: You’re wrong, there is noone following you, your fear is unsubstantiated, but you have a problem, let’s talk about it.

The problem in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is not, that there are 3,7% foreigners living there, but that 20% of those living there are of the opinion, that this is too much. There is something out of proportion. Just think about it. In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern one has to walk a long while, before even pumping into a human, one has to walk a lot longer, until one meets a foreigner and one has to have said hello to 68 people before meeting the first refugee. The AfD plays a game. It says: ‘I see something, that you can’t see. This is the islamisation of the occident.’ The AfD says, the Islam is to blame for everything. As enlightened person, I know, that the Islam is not to blame for everything. The logic of the right wing goes: ‘I don’t do well. Hmm, what could be the cause for that? Ah, propably the ones just arriving caused this.’ So much for the topic, one has to take the fears of AfD voters seriously.”

4 thoughts on “Meck-Pom & the election

  1. Great post! As I have written before, it seems that people’s fear of (immigrants, foreigners, refugees, the Other . . . ) is inversely proportional to how directly and immediately affected their lives are to these groups.

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  2. Good post. So much I could say in reply. We have a similar phenomenon here. Many rural areas in the USA are relatively poor, aging, and in decline. They are also the most conservative and receptive to paranoid appeals about Muslims and other immigrants. There is a complete disconnect between their fears and the problems of their everyday lives. There is a whole book about this phenomenon called “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” I wonder if it has been translated into German.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts. I haven’t heard of the book you mentioned, so far.
      I guess it’s pretty much the same everywhere. Unfortunately, every human tends to look for a scapegoat, if something goes wrong, gosh, even I do. It’s so much easier than accepting ill fate or, worse, having to take responsibility for ones own actions or lack thereof. To take things further, theoretically, this even might be the reason why religions exist in the first place. Accept a god and a devil, and you have someone to tell you how to live your life to fare well and an entity causing evil and errant bad luck -wild guess, but maybe not so far off target.

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