Tuesday, January 02, 2007

(Not) Living in America

While going through "The Rude Pundit"-blog (which I still haven't read completely, it has been started in 2003 and I'm reading backwards, as I do with most blogs), I realized how happy I should be to be living in Germany.

While I would consider most members of the so-called "Christian Democrats" (CDU ... CSU in Bavaria) to be dangerously close to being right wing, they're still not as bad as a lot of Republicans in the US seem to be. It's true that they hold up the virtues they consider to be Christian (whether they are or not is mostly up to your own view of Christian belief), including "no gay marriages" and "no Muslim teachers wearing head scarves even though Christian nuns are allowed to come into class in their habit". It was a tough fight for liberals in Bavaria to make sure the cross was taken out of Bavarian classrooms, indeed.

But apart from that, conservatives in Germany are rather harmless - and the modern successors of the Nazi-party have rarely been able to climb above the 5%-hurdle erected for parties who want to become part of the legislative (in addition most of their parties were forbidden, because founding a party working directly or indirectly to destroy our democratic structures is considered illegal in Germany). They might bark a lot, but they rarely bite, even though theoretically they're in control at the moment (what with the CDU/CSU being the leading party and the Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel being a member). We still have - and most likely will keep - the right for gays and lesbians to marry the person of their choice (and that's good, if you ask me). We still mostly have a liberal environment ... and probably will keep it.

In addition we have a very different view of sex. Yes, I realize that in some countries the word alone is considered something not to talk about. In Germany we do talk about it quite often (at the age of 25 I managed to talk about sex with my mother for the first time without feeling uncomfortable - and no, we did not discuss how or if she still had sex with my father, that's their business, not mine) and - shocking as it might be - we even do have sex. We aren't afraid of seeing a woman's breasts exposed (even though outside movies rated '18' we usually don't see penises or vaginas on TV - except for documentaries, of course). We aren't very nervous about being caught entering or leaving a sex shop. Most video stores in Germany make most of their money by lending porn movies and other '18' movies (mostly very violent ones). Children are taught about the theories of sex in school (though they usually do it somewhere else during their teenage years).

We do have our social and economical problems, too. And - being Germans - we bitch and moan about them a lot (you might have guessed that already from my rather professional bitching in my blog here). Strangely enough we get a lot done and changed while going on bitching. That's how we are ... strange to most people outside Germany, but we're used to it by now.

I don't fear terrorist acts much either. For one thing Germany has not been a target in the past (not a large one, at least). In addition I live in a small town (about 40,000 people live here, as far as I know) and we don't have that many crimes happening here.

So unlike a lot of people here in Germany I'm quite happy I'm not living in America.

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