Do you think Trump is largely underestimated?
We need a forum like “Die Open Gesellschaft” to remind us that Germany is not America. So that in the current state of shock we do not stumble into the other extreme, into the speechlessness of “nobody-thinks-like-me”. It gives us courage and ensures that we are heard. But it does not automatically ensure that we are also understood. The opponents of the open society are not moved to change course because we are here strengthening each other's views. We have to get out of the bubble!
In order to avoid an AfD shock in the Bundestag election next year, above all we have to convince potential non-voters that their votes count. Not only did Trump's supporters get him into the White House, but also millions of non-voters who believed that the open society would continue without their participation in the democratic process. Let's stand up for our values and shake up the indifferent!
We will need more time to restore the consensus society than until autumn 2017. Supporters of populist movements are largely resistant to advice. Our arguments will run through the filter of their ideology, arrive mostly distorted and be rejected. However, it will be inevitable that the dependency of the excluded and the left is actually an interdependence. Where there is a lack of social mobility, destructive energies accumulate on the glass ceilings, and the equality of a common downfall unfolds its nihilistic charm. Herein lies the power of the protest voters: the Brexit supporters didn't care whether they harmed themselves with their vote, as long as the others didn't get away with it. For too long there was talk of equal opportunities in Germany, while Hartz IV dynasties settled in the trap of futility. It cannot go on like this! In an open society there must be room for everyone, otherwise it deserves its opponents. Inclusion is the key word. Therefore: Make friends with a potential Trump or AfD voter! At least on Facebook. Listen and see when the enemies of the open society appear, even if you feel uncomfortable! When we understand better, we can find better solutions. We have a lot to lose. Let's hold on!
Photo: Delstudio / Dreamstime
Juliane Sarnes is a financial analyst in London and a research associate at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. She is the translator of several books and blogs at www.novelista.de
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