A European Political Shift

 

Picture source: Washington Post

I woke up to two vicious attacks in the news this morning. A truck ramming into a Christmas event in Berlin and the assassination of a Russian ambassador in Turkey. Both are already being labeled as terrorist attacks by the respective governments. Both of these attacks are significant considering the German election and the Russian involvement in the Syrian conflict.

I’ve only been here in New Zealand a short time so I haven’t had many conversations regarding world affairs and politics. Considering those I’ve had, I am decently surprised by the range of views many people have had. I have seen quite a few Germans here and many tend to lean to the liberal side who’ve voiced some concern about the coming German election and the possible rise of the populist party, AfD. This usually comes up after we discuss the recent US election which I am frequently asked about. I try to be as honest as possible when it comes to this topic since it isn’t exactly black and white for me. Regardless, the foreign response has been more than pleasant, even with my conservative leaning views.

The immigration issue is a hot topic among Europeans. I understand the situation as an out of control influx of people entering European countries who have no idea what to do with them. I’ve found that my European friends agree with that description which allows me to skip the moral argument for accepting refugees and go straight discussing the social impact that had occurred within these countries. I am not opposed to immigration and neither is anyone I’ve talked to but we do find ourselves agreeing that immigration to this degree has huge unintended social consequences.

I met a French man who has very strong opinions on the immigration issue in Europe. He seemed to follow the populist wave going through the continent but not to the point where he would claim that he supported the French National Front party leader, Marine Le Pen. However, he described his experience going back home as almost a completely different place. Crawling with Somali immigrants. A fast and swift demographic evolution that could overwhelm most people. He talked about their inability to integrate and their habit to sticking together. I told him I was surprised to meet someone from France who is so open about that view. He merely responded saying that not everyone in France is a liberal. I laughed but it also made the political shift moving across Europe that much more real. It’s not something I only read about in the news anymore.

It’s actually all quite fascinating.

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