Christian Wulff and his Small-Minded Fans

Christmas is the time when you have to be nice to others. So I’ll need to hurry up, to get all the dirty chores done ahead of the season of love and understanding.

Federal President Christian Wulff has a problem – sort of a money problem. It’s not that he’d be cash-strapped – he seems to be extremely creditworthy, in fact. His actual problem is described here (including some links about the story’s beginnings).

That doesn’t make Wulff a dishonorable man. But in my view, it makes him a bad president. Then again, I’m biased. I believe that Joachim Gauck would have been the right choice, last year.

That’s why I’m not making a big fuss of the story here. Besides, this is a China blog.

But while I’m at it, this is what Migazin, an online magazine about migration in Germany, wants the press and the public “to leave our president alone”.

Politicians had to resign before, because of similar issues, writes the author. But, he argues, crimes with xenophobe backgrounds had been investigated much less resolutely.

This is a stupid paragraph:

Nothing is known that would amount to lies or deceit. Investigate if Christian Wulff, as Lower Saxony’s president, was in breach of the law. But leave our president alone! Like noone before him, Christian Wulff has managed to add weight to this office. A president who, for the first time, is one for all of us and not only – small-mindedly – these or those. Or is it this which disturbs “us”? The office’s prestige is stronger than ever – especially now -, thanks to Wulff.

Yes, Wulff said that Islam belongs in Germany. That was a good speech. Given that a federal president exercises little political power, good speeches are an important standard to judge a federal president.

But it doesn’t seem to dawn on the author how small-minded his own article is, just as he accuses “others” of the very offense. A federal president, just like any other public servant, needs to be accountable. A good speech in the past, no matter how much you may have liked it, changes nothing about that. To start reckoning – they looked the other way when xenophobic crimes were committed – is small-minded, too. When the president’s conduct is the issue, the president’s conduct is the issue. When xenophobic crimes are the issue, xenophobic crimes are the issue. That’s nothing to kick into one kettle altogether and to keep stirring until it has become  brown gravy.

Besides, the article reveals how short-lived memory is. In 1995, Roman Herzog, one of Wulff’s predecessors, lauded Annemarie Schimmel, an orientalist who was criticized for belittling crimes committed in the name of Islam. That criticism had little substance. It became a big brawl all the same. Herzog spoke up for her, and praised her achievements in helping Germans to understand Islamic culture. That took courage, and Herzog did it anyway.

But Migazin doesn’t seem to remember him. Yeah – Christian Wulff has managed to add weight to this office, like nobody before, huh?

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