Sunday, 20 September 2009


I don't normally like to bombard this space with color, but the "Party" presence in politics here in the land of wurst includes a respective tint as much as it requires a capital letter, and if I'm going to do what I'm about to do, I'll need this presence to demonstrate how grey it can be, even when removed from the drab and dreary of all things black and white.

The national election is just one week away, and the presence of campaign placards litters the landscape of the nearsighted. So many empty slogans not worthy of a catchphrase are the highlight of any good political election season. As if mercifully, though, that season is much, much shorter here than in the land of the free.

Elections here seems to crawl under the radar until a number of weeks (that you can still count on your fingers) before the election. But then you're inundated with two-dimensional portraits on the street, and banal coalition commentary in the media, complete with corresponding color combination constructions.

Here is the least likely one of them all. A couple streets down from where I lay my head, these are on proud display, but street posts are the only place you're going to find this yellow & red combo, discussions of "traffic light coalitions" aside.

The Free Democrats (FDP) emanate the caution signal in such a configuration, and like big-L libertarians the world over, they tend to fall to the right when making a cooperative choice between those who would tax the rich, and the ones already trampling citizens' rights.

No, they will have nothing to do with The Left (die Linke), and given the steadfast, if creepingly waning social demographic of the area in question, they're careful enough to place their posters a little higher on the pole, but stupid enough to hang them at all. This wouldn't seem to presage their envisaged fiscal responsibility, at any rate.

But what of the messages: Martin Lindner (top) sneers "performance has got to be profitable" or maybe "achievement must be worth one's while" - which would explain why he looks constipated. Die Linke cry "Minimum wage right now!" because they also want in on any action that's worthwhile. And their action comes from the bottom.

Speakin' o' which:
Here, die Linke (red) candidate flaunts her socialist "with a big-esss" cred. Interestingly, it was the pose that riled, not the brand on her back; for even if one takes the Socialist for a pariah, the word itself just doesn't carry that much negative weight here - not in Berlin, not even in Bavaria.

And though they only make up about a tenth of the voting public nationally, this kind of ad resonates with die Linke loyal. Like dedicated outcast-lefties in the States, this party is competing most directly with the Democrats, meaning the Social Democrats (SPD, also red) - whose died-in-the-wool social-mindedness just doesn't measure up to the diehard Socialists; in Berlin, at least, this still equals seats.

Ah, jeez. Speaking of east German butts placed firmly in Berlin, this placard pretty much says, "Just because."

I do believe that the existence of the feminine noun in German (in this case, the title of the office with the girlie "IN" at the end of it) plays in the chancellor's favor. That said, I wonder if the thing that she's doing with her hands follows some unwritten rule that says you have to indicate the emptiness of your rhetoric implicitly as well.

Upon closer analysis of the text, one happens upon the CDU (black) co-opting the other two German colors. You see, not so discreetly placed behind the "we" on their ads, you'll find an avatar-sized likeness of the national flag in all its black, red, and gold glory.

I've heard people on both sides of the Atlantic Puddle blow the conventional wisdom out their "I'd poop if I weren't talking" holes that,

"Actually, both of the main parties in Germany are to the left of even the Democrats in the US."

Horse shit is what that is. You can't tell me that a party with "Christian" in its name, and which lays claim to the flag (with a big fuckin' "F") in all of their catchier slogans, and which had "repaired the country's relationship" with the ones who started that illegal war a few years back, is anything but just like the Republicans.

And the fact that they've openly stated a preference of partnering with the laissez-faire Free Dems is only more evidence of how far up the ass of big business they are. You see, the FDP (yellow) and the CDU (black) are on a aggravated collision course of love. If fiscal conservatives (FDP) are willing to compromise their libertarian pretensions and govern with the party (CDU) who's currently ramming security probes up everyone's broadband-butts, it shouldn't take a watercolor experiment mixing yellow and black to make the discerning voter in this country a little nervous.

Then there's the new party who's made sovereignty its central theme.

More specifically, privacy of electronic communications is their calling placard. Lest one think that they're a protest vote not to be taken seriously, the current grand coalition (read: GOP/dem) has a "won't someone please think of the children" justice minister who did just that in this interview (in "English" here). I couldn't help but think of Zappa vs. the State of Gore after reading it. And it's only served to raise the visibility of an already present Piratenpartei (Pirate Party). If they get five percent, they're in.

So what do the Social Dems do to compete? I mean other than buckle to their coalition partner on matters against their constituency's interest at a time when their numbers are at an historical low?

They strive to be more lukewarm than ever before, is what! "Our country can do more." Ring a bell? Just like with the campaign the DNC ran last year, when you get into the details of what more can be done, you find that we can be even more tepid in our convictions!

Trying to woo the middle while daring your left flank to throw their votes away may work when you got the aisle to yourselves, but when there are several alternatives with places in parliament already, and a couple more always trying to bark their way in, you may as well hang a poster that says, "We're voting for the Chancellor too!"

Wow, that's ironic.

In other words: Germany's Democrats are throwing their voters away, like so many US Dem-sters of the past. But that's okay, because after another decade or so of having their nuts squeezed tight, folks are always hopeful enough to vote someone in who'll use a velvet vice.

And this guy...
...who may as well be called "Boner Bonerson" - is doing his best to worm the Social Dem's way into my district.

Look. Seven years ago when I saw that SPD/Grüne (red/green coalition) was facing a serious challenge from the right, I thought, "Please, not here!" Well, a miracle happened and red/green got a stay of execution.

But then, four years ago I was just beginning to awaken to the reality that, in parliamentary politics, all parties are willing to whore themselves to the detriment of their most deeply held beliefs. What good is an anti-nuke party (to take one specific example) when they are willing to okay weapons to China to "get things done"? And of what use is an anti-imperialist faction whose solution to everything is producing so much shit that everyone's swimming in it?

I guess you gotta count your blessings and not forget that the biggest difference you can make is in choosing where you surrender (or not) your currency.

And remember that politics is local.