Casting Ballots23 Sep 2001
Today is election day in Hamburg. Since Hamburg is not only a city but also a federal state, the election is of national interest. And interesting because there's a chance the Social Democrats could lose power for the first time in 44 years. But the result will not depend on the big parties (both Social and Christian Democrats are expected to lose ground), but on the small parties. How may points will the Greens lose, will the Free Democrats overcome the 5% hurdle, and will the new right-wing party led by the ex-'law-and-order' judge Schill really get 15%? The tragedy in the US is expected to play only a very minor role in the outcome. Later: The first predictions show that the SPD/Green coaltion has indeed lost power. The FDP is in with 5.5%, and Schill has over 16%.
Dave says he's getting "Lots more email from Europe...pissing on the USA". He's not posting any quotes, so I don't know what opinions he means. But as an American in Europe, that is not the feeling I'm getting. In Germany, the major parties are fully supporting the US. That support, however, is not unanimous and not unconditional. Germany is, after all, democracy. A democracy that, in large part, was a gift from the US. Many Germans feel that this is now the chance to pay the US back. Payback for CARE packages, the Marshall Plan, NATO, the Berlin Airlift, "Ich bin ein Berliner", and "Mr. Gorbechev, tear down this wall!".