Politics in times of crisis is often a bumpy business.
Angela Merkel vividly described this in her press conference. On the way to the office in the morning you think that you have the epidemic halfway under control, and mail is already arriving: Chancellor, we have a new problem! In the giant laboratory that we humankind are offering the virus, more dangerous variants are mingling out. Corona is arming. We have to adjust the resistance, quickly.
At this level, Merkel is simply a blessing for Germany. If you look back on the year of the pandemic, you will see many who took longer to even understand the connections; some can, some still do not want it out of cheap calculations.
However, this factual level is not the only one at which a crisis has to be overcome. It is increasingly evident that it is not even the most important.
You can do everything right with your craft, or at least most of it, and still fail. Hand tools also wear out. And at some point the best toolbox is empty.
Even a hammer doesn’t last forever
The signs of wear and tear are obvious. The rounds with the prime ministers are becoming more toxic, election campaigns are pushing into them. This reflects the longing as a politician to be allowed to be a normal party fighter again.
Theoretical acceptance of the measures is still high among citizens. The practical consistency of following them is waning everywhere. This is not just due to the power of old habits. What is feared as a fatigue break in tools is just as dangerous for people if you hit them on the same point with the same hammer.
In addition, many in this country have internal administrative lawyers who scrutinize every provision to see what is still possible. Not a nice move, just: Why should people be more generous than the rulers, who haggle over every word in final declarations?
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All of these elements add up to a dubious picture.
Only the virus is awake. The citizens are tired, their politicians are finding it increasingly difficult to reject objections, which are completely justified in themselves, to closed daycare centers and schools, for example. New tool missing; who claim to own it usually only show pretty packaging.
Tool blunt ex works
The result is something like the home office regulation – blunt ex works. But in truth it can hardly be any sharper, because the state lacks the means and exemplary character to enforce an obligation to stay at home.
Merkel continues to try to educate herself and in the political business with pressure. In truth, she does not want to close borders or a zero covid strategy – she shows the sledgehammer to avoid having to use it.
But in the end all you can do is hope for the trust of the citizens. So far it holds, by the way, not although, but because her career is ending. Having nothing left to lose other than a hero entry in the history book makes even tactically ingenious tantrums appear to be due to the cause.
But you shouldn’t underestimate the people either. Many quickly agree to criticism of “vaccination chaos”. Most of them know how to distinguish between mere stumbling and real failure. Because could it be better? Always. Much worse, however.