November Thoughts: Politics

I’m young enough to be all pissed off
But I’m old enough to be jaded.
I’m of the age where I want things to change,
But with age my hopes have faded.
(Once We Were Anarchists ~ Frank Turner, 2007)

This week I spent quite a bit of my time (outside work, that is) on the local politics area of my life. I’ve been a member of the German Green Party for over 20 years now, became more involved on the local level about 18 years ago and have been sitting on the town council and various council committes for at least 15 years if not longer. I’m not too involved anymore in party politics on a regional or even federal level, because I tried to have a life outside of politics. I mean I worked in politics on various levels for over a decade as well and I realized that as much as I enjoy “doing” politics on a local level, I didn’t want to spend my working life in politics as well. I know in each party there a people who live like that, who breath and live politics 24/7, but that’s not my thing. The job I do now is sort of political as well, I mean I work in the climate action field and that’s turned into a very political issue over the last year. Which is good! But I can still very well seperate my professional work and my local political work and I’m glad about that.

I feel I’ve got a bit more detached from local politics or Green policy issues at least on a local level over the past few months. Not in a way that I want to quit anything, far from it. I still think the Greens have a lot of good and valid arguments for policy changes on various levels and I’m still committed to support and fight for these issues in my town. And even beyond, even though with less real activity from me, but more supporting the party with my membership fees and votes and such. I sometimes feel bad about being not as enthusiastic and fired up about politics than I used to have been a few years ago. I don’t know if it’s a general sort of fatigue or just a political one. Maybe a bit of both. Being a Green in a small German town which has been and still is a socialdemocratic (Labour) stronghold, can be frustrating and exhausting. The indifference from town people about council issues and local politics can be exhausting. We spent all Friday debating the council’s budget for next year and it’s tedious, number crunching stuff all the while knowing that neither of the changes we might suggest will get the social democratic support. Because they don’t need to support anything any other party group on the council suggests.

I sometimes do wonder why I do all this when it all seems to futile and when the futility makes it so frustrating. But somehow I can’t not do it either. Because I do care about those issues and those policies and I still think they need a voice on the council. Or in any democratic parliament. That’s why I’ve always voted Green in every election all the while knowing that they most probably won’t be part of majority coalition to form a government. And regarding my own political activities I’m glad I’m in the position where I can spend some of my free time on this. I can arrange my working hours accordingly, I don’t have children or pets or relatives to care for who need more of my time. To me “being in local politics” feels like an activity worth spending some time on. Especially these days when fewer and fewer people are able or willing to do either. Because somebody’s got to do it or our whole democratic system and society will keep tumbling down. And that’s not a world I want to live in.

Now this sounds really jaded. (Thanks to Frank for teaching me this word all those years ago). I’m not. A bit disillusioned maybe, but still very much willing to play my role and do my part. And every once in a while other people (colleagues or old school friends) acknowledge what I’m doing and tell me that they think it’s admirable and worth doing and that’s always nice to hear as well.

[I did start writing this post on the 1st of November, with the intention to write a post each day in the spirit of #NaBloPoMo. But two days in this already feels like too much of a chore. Help. I’m such a slacker. And also… there is too much distraction. I will try to post more regularily this week about random thoughts or stuff. Ideas are…

  • the informal gathering for our “class of ’94” anniversary
  • my “monkey mind” (i.e. how my thoughts go on the most absurd tangents)
  • my inability to work out consistently. Starting over with a schedule once more this week)

and probably some more random stuff. I hope]


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