False democracy? “People don’t know how lucky they are”

Almost every third person in this country feels they are just living in a pseudo-democracy. t-online readers assess the state of democracy in Germany.

A representative commissioned by SWR opinion poll According to the Allenbach Institute, 31 percent of Germans believe they belong to a pseudo-democracy in which the citizens have no say. In West Germany, 28% hold this view, and in East Germany 45%.

Florian Harms, editor in chief of t-online, and Miriam Holstein, chief political correspondent, discuss these staggering numbers in an issue of “Tagesanbruch”: how they came and what needs to be done to improve the situation. Listen to the podcast here:

Thousands have followed our call to assess the state of our democracy. Most t-online readers agree that a democratic form of society is preferable. It was collectively said that it does not work well. However, many are also satisfied with the status quo.

“Don’t just consume and be called”

“Our democracy is probably still one of the best on the planet, even if it has flaws,” he says. Online reader Wilfried Schönebeck. “Ultimately, quality also depends on the willingness of citizens not only to consume and make demands, but to actively participate themselves,” he explains.

“Some professions have nothing to do with democracy anymore”

Online reader Christian Michalski On the other hand, he writes: “I am no longer sure if I can still say in good conscience: Germany is a democracy. If you look at some appointments in ministries, they have nothing to do with democracy anymore. There is a much more important party representation.”

We are allowed to vote, which I do too, but unfortunately you often see after elections that the will of the people to vote is not reversed. Is this a democracy? I’m in my seventies and I feel that many politicians lack decency and morals.”

“Rejectors of democracy are welcome to emigrate.”

“When I look at different countries, I just want to live in a democracy,” he notes Online Reader Annette Meyer firmly. “The complainants and the naysayers do not seem to appreciate the great benefit of freedom and legal certainty, and therefore do not deserve it. They are called to emigrate to where they think they can live better.

Some are not attuned to self-responsibility and would prefer to have a strong leader leading them like lambs in the ring. Unfortunately, there are a lot of such gullibles.”

Demonstration in Freiburg in February 2022: The political response to the pandemic in particular has sparked a lot of talk of a “corona dictatorship”. (Source: IMAGO / Andreas Haas)

‘External threats are on the rise’

Online Reader Stefan Witmer He says: “In order to consider the weakness of our democracy, it is necessary to look beyond the borders at developments in the European Union and its institutions. For example, Brexit, Orbán’s clear re-election in Hungary, setbacks to judicial independence in Poland, Macron’s fear of The presidency in France, the monetary policy of the European Central Bank regardless of high inflation Germany is not an island, all these problems also affect the people of this country.

One feels that the blindness of our rulers prevents us from seeing the reality that surrounds us. In my view, our democracy is increasingly threatened by external influences, which are also causing shocks in our country. If the French presidency falls into the hands of the right, it will have an impact on the political scene in Germany, and will put additional pressure on the basic democratic order.”

Stefan Whitmer has a feeling that politicians don’t listen seriously to “what really matters to people: issues like jobs, purchasing power, sensible energy, homeland security, the gap between rich and poor, maintaining urban infrastructure.”

“Democracy is the best form of bad government”

“I was born in 1938,” reports Online reader Walter Weinberg. He pleads with more gratitude: “When you have experienced everything I’ve been through, including World War II, I can only say that people are very good today. They don’t know how good they are. Democracy is the best of all bad government.” We should cherish it and preserve it.”

‘Many politicians live in a bubble’

Online reader Joachim Langfield Walter Weinberg agrees: “Personally, I think democracy is the best form of government. And what happens when someone has a lot of power is clearly visible in Putin.” However, he objects: “Even as a pro-democracy, I see many politicians living in a bubble and having no idea what real life is.

Most of them only got their posts through the party membership card, and there is a lack of specialized knowledge. Essentially, Joachim Langfield is happy “to be able to live in a free country like ours and to be able to express your opinions freely and not end up in prison for criticism.”

“The fact that so many are complaining only shows how well we are doing”

“As a professional soldier, I’ve been to many places in the past 35 years where there is no state system like ours,” Online reader Helmut Recherts. “I love our democracy. Seeing how opinions are suppressed in other countries or ways of life (including homosexuality) are banned shows me how much freedom we have.

The fact that so many people in our country are complaining or yelling against this system shows me how well we are doing. Some just don’t know. Because it’s only when you don’t have those freedoms that you lose them – only then is it too late. We live in a spoiled rich society.”

“We only laugh even though we feel like crying”

“I live in a small community at the southeast end of Brandenburg. I’ve been a local politician for over ten years and I’m very close to the citizens,” he says. Online Reader Renee Proffer Get to know us. “We are not surprised by the decisions of the state or the federal government. No, we just laugh, though we feel more tears. Here in the country, where local transportation has been wiped out and there are no more stores left, we are wanted by careless politicians explaining how much The coolness of the cargo bike and what a gift a ticket for a local transport costs nine euros.

Here, where you normally have to drive 30 km to work, we are then told that driving should be more expensive. We, the people who live south of the A15, know that we don’t really belong to the areas that depend on Potsdam. So it’s no wonder why we don’t listen more while there is nothing left of the politicians’ words before the elections after the elections.”

“Grateful that we can live in this democracy”

T-reader Rudolf Priest He asserts, “I am really grateful that we can live in the democracy that we have today! We can express our opinions freely. We can pretty much live the way everyone imagines and where everyone can do whatever they want” and live in recall where, to a large extent, No one is left behind in poverty.

Even if this is not always 100% successful, relatively good and capable security systems are in place. Yes, I confess I do not always feel that my interests are optimally represented, but I can accept that if I can continue to live in freedom and democracy.”

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