Dr. Schäuble’s political career is impressive. With his 77 years, he now is the oldest member of the Bundestag but still young compared to Wisconsin State Senator Fred Risser. Schäuble is one of the major architects of German unity. You may like to read more about Wolfgang on Wikipedia.
Knowing that the topic of Schäuble’s talk would attract many people Red Baron arrived at the university’s main auditorium one hour early only to find that the Audimax was already fully packed mostly with young people. Eventually, I found one free seat somewhere in the middle. My neighbor to the left was a freshman studying law with whom, while waiting, I had an interesting discussion whereas to my right an old mumbling man was seated.
|The speaker arrives in his wheelchair|
while Freiburg's young Lord Mayer is greeting those sitting in the first row.
|On April 3, 1849, Frederick William IV of Prussia declines the imperial crown offered|
to him by a delegation of the Frankfort National Assembly mocking
it as a parliamentarian dog collar having the slutty smell of revolution.
The king added that the offer was nothing else than an imaginary bait baked from dirt and clay.
*introducing women’s suffrage. The NYT published the full text of the Weimar Constitution in an English translation.
|The President of the Reich Friedrich Ebert and|
the President of the National Assembly Constantin Fehrenbach, a Freiburger,
hail the promulgation of the Weimar Constitution at the balcony of the Weimar theater on
August 19, 1919: Es lebe die Republik! (Long live the Republic!).
It only lived 14 years.
A Federal Constitutional Court watches that the political parties at the Bundestag stick firmly and unconditionally to our constitution fully accepting the core values of our society. Since 1949 several new parties both left and right-wing had been judged as unconstitutional and were outlawed. Note that in the present Bundestag a left post-communist Die Linke and a right populist AfD are seated. Both parties nervously assure their loyalty to the Grundgesetz mantra-like while our Constitutional Court monitors their activities vigilantly.
In the first years of our Federal Republic, the political circumstances were favorable. The economic growth called the German miracle provided for a fair division of wealth so that the Grundgesetz became firmly anchored in the minds of the people.
Although objectively the prosperity was never so large as nowadays, the so-called Berlin Republic is not free from being endangered. The angst of the future with its digitalization and globalization is strong on the minds of many citizens. According to Schäuble responsible politics must slow down rapid changes and take people's anxieties with respect to the loosening of social ties seriously. Communication between people must be strengthened but on a personal base and not via social networks.
One important aspect of the Grundgesetz is that it limits the arbitrary rule of the majority and protects minorities. This requires respect for other opinions nowadays frequently disregarded in many discussions and above all on the Internet. Controversial discussions must never end in hate speech but in an appeasing compromise.
|Dr. Schäuble talking to a fascinated audience in an overcrowded auditorium|