In a speech before her conservative Christian Democratic Union, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared recently that multi-culturalism in their country had failed, and that immigrants should learn their language, adapt to their culture, and embrace Christianity.
Weird, right? I’m trying to think of an historical precedent, in Germany specifically, for this kind of xenophobia and prejudice. Hmmm… nothing.
Muslims, of whom she’s referring, account for about 6% of the country’s population and workforce. Many immigrants came to Germany from Turkey in the 1940s to help rebuild it after World War II ended.
Wait – WWII. Reminding me of someone… a then-Chancellor who may or may not have held contempt for people of other religions…
Okay, this is obviously unfair. Angela Merkel isn’t Hitler. (To be Hitler nowadays you have to pass tax cuts in a stimulus bill and stop insurance companies from dropping coverage to toddlers.) She’s not trying to exterminate her citizens, or she wouldn’t have given them a head start for the border.
My theory? She wants to throw her hat in the ring for the 2012 GOP ticket. Why not! She’s not an American citizen, sure, but it’s not like she’s from Kenya. And the GOP won’t win anyway, so the constitution isn’t in danger.
But there is a LOT of money involved, and I think she wants a cut of the action. In 2008, John McCain raised and spent some $250 million just to lose. And Sarah Palin got those fancy clothes.
The question remains: is Merkel prejudiced enough?
In 2012, if you want a shot at winning the GOP primary, you have to start attacking your country’s citizens early.
Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty made an early move in December of 2009, when he told Newsweek that transgendered Americans should not be allowed to teach in public schools. Hateful and discriminatory? Of course! But it’s not enough to get attention from the tea partiers. (He’s also decided against seeking another term as governor, so he’ll be out of a job and looking for work with Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich.)
South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint kicked it up a notch, reiterating earlier comments in early October that gays and single women shouldn’t be allowed to teach children. In Republican circles, a statement like that roughly translates to: “I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”
Now Senator DeMint and Governor Pawlenty may be homophobes (DeMint adding the touch of generally hating any woman who isn’t a man’s wife), but they can’t actually do anything about it. It’s unlawful to discriminate in Minnesota based on gender – or transgender – and it’s not going to be easy to get a constitutional amendment that requires asking women whether or not they’re getting laid.
But this is all meant to appease the base. Republicans hate teachers anyway, and throwing in gays and women makes it so much the better.
It’s just for attention. And campaign donations.
And let’s not forget higher office.
Which is why a plucky congressional candidate in Missouri is going to soon become the GOP’s darling. Vicky Hartzler (currently jobless, but what Republican candidate isn’t?) is seeking to become the Representative for her state’s 4th district, and she’s running against arguably the most homophobic Democrat in Congress.
For you and me, this race is lose-lose. Congressman Ike Skelton, seeking to hold onto his seat, was one of the authors of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
But Hartzler wants the job (and maybe an apartment in DC to share with Michelle Bachmann?), so she’ll have to be even more anti-gay than he is.
She’s leading a campaign to stop gay marriage from sneaking into a state where it’s already illegal, and she plans to end hate crimes legislation. In Missouri it’s legal to fire someone for simply being gay – but for Hartzler, that’s just not enough.
For laughs (I mean, I’m hoping she’s not serious), as state representative, she attempted to have women who had abortions charged with murder.
Folksy, and practical!
Angela Merkel is going to have a tough time making a name for herself when she’s only making veiled accusations towards immigrants and telling Muslims to convert. (Has she seen the NYC Islamic multi-cultural center protests?!)
Could she at least fire some teachers?