December 8, 2021

From Mother Merkel to the Scholz Family—my Take as a Child of Germany.

 

Dear Angela Merkel, I never voted for you, but I am thankful for your service.

This might sound weird to my American friends, but it also shows the beauty of a functioning democracy.

I never voted for Angela Merkel or her party (and I never will)—but I respect her. I have nothing but respect for the woman who found her way despite the countless jokes about her appearance and backstabbing male colleagues within her own party.

She was attacked by her own party after allowing millions of refugees to seek shelter in Europe, but she still did it—because it was the right thing to do. She followed her heart, and it would be an understatement to note that this is a rare thing in politics.

Merkel always described her way of governing as a mix of “seeing the world through the eyes of others with happiness in our hearts.”

It’s hard to see that happiness in her heart at times—which is a problem I can totally relate to as a German—but it’s there.

Journalists who traveled with Merkel describe her as a cheerful person. But she is aware that most folks see her as the textbook example of a grumpy German—I feel you on that, Angela!

She picked a song from a controversial German singer (Nina Hagen) at her farewell ceremony. The song is about a wife complaining that her husband brought a camera that only takes black and white pictures and that he should have brought the one that shows colors. The woman in the song is worried that nobody would believe how amazing their time actually was because of the missing colors.

I guess that’s the perfect metaphor for her legacy and her personality.

But it’s over now. Germany is moving forward. Olaf Scholz is the new Angela Merkel.

Before the elections in September, I wrote an article introducing the three candidates by using a few analogies. I described Scholz as the typical German accountant who lacks the ability to show emotions—and maybe that’s exactly why he won the election.

 

Hearted by

 

He shocked Merkel’s party by defeating their candidate, who I called the German Ted Cruz earlier this year. And he managed to form a coalition with Annalena Baerbock’s Green Party and the German liberals who are led by a young politician called Christian Lindner. The efficiency of the Scholz government will depend on how these two smaller parties get along with each other.

The result is the first so-called traffic light coalition in Germany on a federal level. Social Democrats (SPD), Greens, and Liberals (FDP) represent a new generation of Germans taking power. The three parties announced the ambitious goals to rebuild the economy after COVID-19, take a leading role in the fight against global warming, and make foreign policy about human rights (not profits).

Only time will tell if Scholz is able to meet these goals within his first term. All three parties expressed their desire to start a new legacy that lasts more than four years–and all politicians involved are comparably young, which makes this goal even more realistic.

I wish Scholz and his team all the best for the upcoming years.

I hope that he will be able to improve our health care system and help millions of self-employed folks like me to break free from structures that are not up-to-date anymore. I hope that his government can make housing affordable again. I demand that our internet will be as fast as it should be. And many of my friends are already excited about plans to legalize recreational marihuana in 2022.

But even if Scholz achieves all these goals and stays in power for 16 years, there is one thing I would like to clarify straight away: Merkel’s nickname was “Mutti” (mother in German). And that was somehow cute and all that, but I will never refer to Scholz as “Daddy Olaf.”

Times are changing. The next German government won’t be led by one character; it will be more like a family that continuously argues with each other to find common ground. Scholz won’t be the undisputed leader of this government.

That might be bad news for Scholz himself, but great news for Germany, Europe, and all our international partners.

The mother of a nation steps to the side, and her kids are taking over. And as a part of that generation of kids, I am more than happy about that.

 

 

As I always tell my Conservative friends, “The Merkel era wasn’t bad at all, but I think that we can do much better.”

Let’s do this.

 

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