Friday, September 20, 2013

Better late than never

Germans are finally getting around to finding a little spielraum on their own, rather than depend on government to take it for them. The world can only hope that works out for them.
Political topics have hardly made it into people's everyday life in Germany. Only one in five Germans has actively looked at the issues raised during the election campaign, according to a recent survey by the Allenbach Institute.
Political scientist Robert Verkamp finds that trend worrying. What he's most concerned about is not whether one in five or one in four Germans stay at home come election day. Germany's voter turnout is still relatively good compared to other countries in Europe or worldwide. What he sees as a big problem is that there is a certain group of people who don't cast their vote at all anymore. “The non-voters we're dealing with are people who have quit active participation in democracy for good,” he explained. He has compiled a study for the Bertelsmann Foundation, and says the results are clear: There are only very few non-voters who do not cast their ballot out of protest – as a way to make a political statement by not voting. “Those who increasingly don't make use of their right to vote tend to be socially weak and less educated.”
Verkamp says it's a dangerous trend if that share of society is not represented in the political system anymore. He is afraid that “Germany is inching towards a socially divided democracy.” Those non-voters are often not at all interested in topics, such as the NSA spying scandal or the eurozone crisis.
Nor who owns small countries, not so far away, of which they don't want to know anything? They prefer to stick their noses only into their own business?  Whew!

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