Election season in Germany

Things are getting interesting here in Germany with election fever going on. There are debates on TV and talk of various campaign issues on the radio. But the biggest sign of it has been the thousands of political posters plastered up all over town.

My friend Steven over at Doin’ Time On The Donau wrote a wonderfully humorous summary of the many political parties in Germany and some of the big signs he’s seen. A lot of them are the same in Hamburg (though of course not the ones specifically Bavaria-related), and Hamburg also has its own big referendum coming up on whether or not to buy back the gas/water/electricity lines from the “everybody-loves-to-hate” power company, Vattenfall. From what I’ve gathered from my students, most people don’t know enough about what the decision will mean and thus have no idea how they are going to vote on that, so I’m guessing it’s more likely the majority will vote against buying it back rather than for it. Buying it back will mean higher taxes for us, right? Or something along those lines. I don’t know either, but for me, it doesn’t matter anyway.

Although it’s interesting, and of course it’s important, I don’t really care. I’m not allowed to vote in any elections here. That doesn’t bother me so much because I still have my right to vote in the States. But there is still something a bit odd about not being able to have a say about issues in the community you live in.

My favorite political poster is this one, hands down.

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It’s actually an advertising campaign for a discount brand of food called ja! at the Rewe supermarket. “Citizens like our savings programs”, it says, and “vote ja!” I think it’s pretty well done, because it really blends in with all the other posters, yet stands out seeing as there’s a man with a ketchup bottle as a head. I like it!

And I’ve only actually seen one political ad on TV–and that’s just because it’s so bad! Tobias saw it and recorded it for me so I could watch it later. You don’t even need to understand German to see just how awful this ad is. The best part is that they claim to be the party for the 21st century. If that’s so, why did they hire a director and actors who are so last century?

Enjoy!

I voted

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I sent in my absentee ballot a few weeks ago.

It’s really a bummer absentee voters don’t get that cool “I voted!” sticker to wear around with pride for the rest of the day.

So here is an old photo of me from 2008 – the last time around! (This is when I worked as a teacher for the reading program and this particular classroom was an extra room in a church. Pretty obvious from the décor, isn’t it?)

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But even more of a bummer is that as an absentee voter, I didn’t get the opportunity to vote on the local issues in Maryland. I would’ve loved to have been a part of those important decisions as well. But at least I could vote for the president/VP, senator and representative and I am proud to be able to exercise my voting rights even while living abroad. (And happy that the name change with the Social Security administration was completed just in time for the election so that my vote will count!)

In any case, tomorrow is the first day I will actually be excited to wake up at 5:45 for my early class. I’ll be making a beeline straight from bed to my computer to check the news. The anticipation is nerve-wracking!