New Year's Eve marks a shift because it crystallized a widespread unease with state inaction. The happenings on the square between the Cologne Cathedral and the main train station was as symbolic as they were real: symbolic of the state's powerlessness in the face of chaos and crime.When the wizards of smart mess up, the public will be receptive to claims that they are being governed by stupid people. And the wizards of smart messed up.
It has felt this week as though voters, if they don't feel like their concerns are being taken seriously by Merkel's conservatives or her Social Democratic coalition partners, will search for answers from other, more radical groups. As such, Cologne will be a test for Berlin.The article goes on to describe, to the best of the writers' ability, what actually happened. It is not for the faint of heart. Their conclusion? "German society is becoming increasingly divided."
But this hectic, fervid and, at times, hysteric, week has also been about much more: Namely it has been about all of the issues that the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the xenophobic movement Pegida have been shouting about for months. It was about Merkel's refugee policies and the upper limit for refugees demanded by her conservative Bavarian allies. Added to that was the perpetual problem of violence against women. It was about the integration of foreigners, the danger of a societal split over the refugee question and a shift to the right in Germany. But it was also about the quality of the work done by the police and about a state being unequal to the task facing it. It is a lot to think about. The role of the "lying press" can't be forgotten either. And yet, it still isn't entirely clear what actually happened on New Year's Eve in Cologne.
Ten months to the U. S. presidential election.
Germans are also losing patience.