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New wave of embittered conservatism, white nationalism strikes German government

Germany
Germany

Germany

Germany


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Considering the firestorm on the West Coast, a hurricane to the South and East, a string of Nazi-reminiscent protests across the nation and an incompetent mound of “Wonder Bread” in the White House, it’s hard to look beyond our own borders to consider what is happening in other nations. Regrettably, it’s not good.

Recent elections in Germany have illustrated a whopping 13 percent of votes for the openly far-right party, Alternative for Germany, and while this may not seem like a concerning amount, the context of the party itself sheds an unsettling light.

Alternative for Germany, which is fittingly reminiscent of America’s so-called “Alt-Right” political group, is a political party, which cites German Nationalism and “Traditional” family values as core aspects of their ideology. The latter is your usual conservative drivel: against same-sex marriage, against same-sex adoption, calling feminism “green communism” and the like, which incidentally makes me even more fond of feminism, but I digress. The former, however, emphasizes a sense of national pride, criticizes the integration of Germany into Europe as a threat to their identity and boasts anti-immigration sentiments with regards to their identity as well as the apparent threat of Islam. Sound familiar?

In many ways, this shows a willingness for German citizens to follow the blazing path to hell that has been America’s political climate these past few months. In other ways, it shows a desire to overturn the national shame within post-Nazi Germany. This is understandable. It must be difficult to live in a nation which is continually portrayed as villainous and evil, and oftentimes the only ones capable of being so. Despite the brutal fascism of Italy, they are largely allowed to live scot-free of this history, instead bathing in the romanticism of Milan and Venice and their disgustingly delicious cuisine. Belgium, despite partaking in the grotesque rape of the Congo, is allowed a peaceful image of chocolate makers. French designer Coco Chanel, a literal Nazi, is practically deified in the modern fashion world. Why should Germany be the only country to bear the weight of its past transgressions?

This movement is one of many far-right movements taking place across the globe, which represent a troubling trend, one in which compassion is devalued and we turn ourselves inwards. Nationalistic ideals are a manifestation of this; an unwillingness to relate to others because they live or have lived somewhere else, to the point where we are willing to let them suffer needlessly.   

Moreover, there is an importance in accepting the failings of a nation. The citizens of Germany can recognize and acknowledge their past and still feel pride for where they are. They can exist as proud Germans without having to condemn others in the process. By choosing a route which seeks to return to the past that induced such shame to begin with, there is an obvious failure to progress beyond, resulting in little more than a cycle of shame.

We must be able to identify and combat this. The history that we so mourn will come back if we are not watchful of its return. At a certain point we must ask ourselves, when is it too late?

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New wave of embittered conservatism, white nationalism strikes German government