Photo: Andreas Arnold / dpa
Dear Mr. Laschet,
like most people who are halfway sensible, I abhor open letters because they are too often a pesky amalgam of self-righteousness, lewdness and ineffectiveness.
But the pandemic demands victims from all of us, and this is mine: an open letter to you in your role as chairman of the largest ruling party, the CDU, that is, as the most powerful man in the Federal Republic of Germany at the moment.
At least on paper.
At least the party paper.
My problem is - and I do not think that I am alone with it: I have lost the remaining trust in your political abilities.
This is not because, as a non-party, left-liberal-democratic constitutional patriot, I have a different political stance than you.
You can see this from the fact that I have a very unironical appreciation of other politicians, some of them very conservative: Minister of Economic Affairs Altmaier for his noiseless perseverance, Prime Minister Söder for his gift of making opportunism appear as an intelligent backbone, or Winfried Kretschmann for his unwavering loyalty to the CDU.
My loss of confidence has more to do with your pandemic performance, which I perceived after a mediocre start as initially strongly degrading, then puzzling and confusing and finally as depressingly low-quality.
The essence of my disdain for your political achievements is that I regularly feel pissed off by you.
It cost me a lot of linguistic civilizational energy not to slip into the fecal at this point.
Born in 1975, is an author and strategy consultant with a focus on the Internet and digital technologies.
In 2019, Kiepenheuer & Witsch published his book "Realitätsschock: Ten Lessons from the Present".
So that you do not believe that these are unfounded allegations, I would like to illustrate this with your own statements and activities.
But first I would like to admit to both of us that we just got off to a bad start.
The first activity that I remembered from you: As a university lecturer, you lost all of the exams on a course - and to cover that up, you simply made up the grades.
And 35 grades, although only 28 students had even taken the exam.
As a result, not only did your teaching end.
They also lost my fundamental sympathy for advancing politically committed democrats.
In spring 2020 you were among the first to loosen the lockdown against the advice of many experts and, for example, want to reopen furniture stores.
They used the memorable justification that North Rhine-Westphalia was "the country of kitchen builders."
It left me with a taste of particular interests that you seemed to represent.
Because your party actually received donations from the industry - from the furniture entrepreneur who also financially supported the notorious "Heinsberg Protocol" by Hendrik Streeck and the Storymachine company.
In the end, you even wanted to have little to do with the marketing of the associated, PR-oriented study on Heinsberg.
In fact, however, the key message fitted surprisingly well into your political strategy.
Almost as if you had ordered seemingly scientific PR support for your gut-feeling politics.
In the first summer of the pandemic, of all things, slaughterhouses were among the most dangerous corona herds, which you nevertheless included in your lockdown relaxation.
In the context of the long-standing CDU party donor and meat manufacturer Tönnies, this led you to the statement that the outbreaks said “nothing at all” about the easing, “because Romanians and Bulgarians came here and the virus comes from”.
That sounded rather unfavorable to me: the foreigners are to blame, not the party donors.
In the first autumn of the pandemic you resisted containment measures and spoke of a "lockdown light" after the number of contagions rose.
You said on October 28, 2020: »It was easy for us to take part because we can promise the citizens: These measures are limited in time.
They are valid until November 30th.
We don't need to discuss afterwards: what do we open or what do we close. "
On November 2nd you declared: "We closed all schools and kindergartens in March, and there was great agreement in all countries, regardless of who rules, that must never happen to us again."
I realize that a pandemic is an exceptional situation and that you are always smarter afterwards - but can you understand that such announcements shatter trust when they are received so silently?
Without having made a serious effort to admit your communication mistakes and learn from them publicly?
This also gave me the impression that you were acting headlessly: Laschet back and forth.
In mid-February 2021, as the most important representative of the most important governing party in the future, you criticized that it was politically popular to treat citizens “like underage children”.
Even if one were to agree to this general condemnation - would it not be absolutely necessary to apply that to you and your own party?
Please help me with the correct classification: Was that more of a shot in the oven or in the knee?
In almost the same breath you also said that "you can't keep inventing new limit values to prevent life from happening again." That is disturbing populist for one of the most powerful people in Germany because you are ignoring any shared responsibility and at the same time being close to that Conspiracy theory advised.
Nobody "invents" new limit values over and over again; these are suggested by experts and then set by the federal government in coordination with the federal states - including you.
And not to prevent social activity, but for the exact opposite: so that life can take place again as quickly as possible.
I consider it catastrophic that you implicitly assumed that there are obviously powerful circles who "wanted to prevent life".
We could agree that these limit values, like so much else, were communicated underground, but that would be your job: to make comprehensible decisions.
Justify life-changing resolutions.
In your government statement on March 24, 2021, you said: “And we all had the hope from last year's experience that when spring comes it will be warmer, virus infections will decrease and numbers will decrease, and we are experiencing exactly at the moment the opposite. "Mr. Laschet, this" opposite ", which was apparently surprising for you, corresponded exactly to the forecasts of almost all experts.
Your concept of hope looks more like the concept of superstition to me.
And because I don't think you have a poor grasp of things, I again felt a lot confused.
It is a constant that I regularly develop feelings of confusion in you.
more on the subject
Armin Laschet at Markus Lanz: An interview like a bullfight by Arno Frank
One or the other political science seminar will probably be held about your performance in Markus Lanz's broadcast on March 30, 2021, the following situation applies to me as the single moment in which your remaining chance of becoming chancellor imploded.
You criticized the "sluggishness" of the republic, and when Lanz correctly described this as a break with Angela Merkel's policy, you said: "No, that was an analysis of the country." It was not only Lanz who wondered what the difference was .
This exchange of words followed shortly afterwards:
Lanz: "Mr. Laschet, who has ruled for 16 years now?"
She: "That has nothing to do with it!"
You: "No, no, no, no!"
She: "It has to do with it too ..."
Can you understand that on the same evening I was considering posting a photo of you in the Wikipedia entry for “Own goal” for illustration purposes?
When you said about schools on the show: "If things continue like this, there will be compulsory tests," my absurdometer exploded.
After more than a year of a pandemic, how can you, as the head of the school, act so planless and conceptless?
When you finally wanted to "think" about measures over Easter - a large number of more thoughtful experts have been doing this for a long time - you built yourself an enormous drop.
With each passing day, the expectations of you and thus your probability of being screwed up became greater and greater.
But it could have been theoretically that you could have thought of the super ingenious corona concept.
The great liberation from your Laschet low, which might have gone down in political history as a grandiose Laschet scam.
However, when you reported from the five-day reflection retreat with a rhetorical double blow, the last spark of my hope for a substance on your part was over.
Reality shock: ten lessons from the present
Published by Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Number of pages: 400 pages
Published by Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Number of pages: 400 pages
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For one thing, you came around the corner with the completely meaningless term "bridge lockdown".
Bridge from where?
It looked like a PR agency had come up with it, and the last five ideas were probably also »Spring Lockdown«, »Good Work Lockdown« and »Purple Mood Lockdown«.
They didn't explain the term, at a time when people crave logical, consistent, explainable politics more than almost anything else.
Instead, they stated that the "hard, short bridge lockdown" would have to continue "until a large part of the population had been vaccinated".
Words like "large part" are used in English as "weasel word" because it winds intangibly.
It is an obfuscation term that creates a stale pseudo-clarity, the simulation of policy statements.
And you said, “We're fortunate that the numbers are falling right now.
We're not sure whether it's because of the Easter reports and the delay in reporting, so we'll have to wait for the next few days, similar to Christmas. "
Yes, we are sure that it is due to the Easter delay, because it is known that only around half of the health authorities reported data over the holidays.
Can you understand that your testimony must be seen as either a bold lie or an intellectual disdain by the public?
Mr Laschet, I do not want to be considered dull on principle.
But you changed sausages, weaseled and thrashed your way through the pandemic as if you thought me and, haha, most of the population to be dull.
Over Easter, a so-called meme spread via the social media platform Twitter.
It was a call to make you a candidate for Chancellor.
I perceived excitement, confidence, and general joy among the callers.
However, it was about Social Democrats and Greens, whom you would like to see as the CDU's candidate for Chancellor.
I don't think that's a good sign for you.