%HTMLlat1; %HTMLsymbol; %HTMLspecial; ]> Democracy just doesn't look very epic
Roland van Ipen­burg
To be stolen or blogged

Democ­ra­cy just doesn't look very epic

Wed­nes­day 12 Au­gust 2009 01:31

Vot­ing, for ex­am­ple. On some rainy day you head for some school in the hood and put a cross some­where on a piece of pa­per and put that in a box which re­sem­bles the box you sep­a­rate your trash in. Vot­ing is an im­por­tant thing to do, but every­thing about it makes it look unim­por­tant. It's stripped down to the bare min­i­mum, with the num­ber of the vot­ing of­fice in black on white on your piece of pa­per and the same on some sign out­side a school, the ster­ile ef­fi­cient and neu­tral en­vi­ron­ment of the vot­ing process in­ter­twined with the flash­back in­duc­ing de­sert­ed­ness of a school when the kids have gone. It's the anti-cli­max of democ­ra­cy. Buy­ing a postage stamp from a vend­ing ma­chine ap­pears more ex­cit­ing. And that's the ac­tive part of democ­ra­cy.

The pas­sive part can be equal­ly de­cep­tive. Most­ly be­cause I'm say­ing the Pi­ra­ten­par­tei are a bunch of id­iots, I want­ed to check if the FDP isn't, be­cause oth­er­wise it wouldn't make much sense to dis the Pi­ra­ten­par­tei if all par­ties are id­iots. So last af­ter­noon I went to Lu­rup, for the Bür­ger­ge­spräch with Kat­ja Sud­ing and Burkhardt Müller-Sönksen, MdB no less. Op­ti­mis­tique-moi glanced Google maps and de­cid­ed one hour would be enough to get to the about 6 kilo­me­ter far tar­get by bike. But once you get on the wrong way to Sch­ene­feld there is no short­cut in the di­rec­tion of Lu­rup. So a bit lost in the ghet­to sud­den­ly 18:00 was ap­proach­ing fast and Bö­verst­land isn't ex­act­ly on some cross­roads that you'd ran­dom­ly run into. Cir­cling the area didn't yield much so then I just fol­lowed my sense of di­rec­tion through the court­yard of some brown bricks, over a play­ground and there we were. Kat­ja Sud­ing on the park­ing lot of the Stadt­teil­haus, and not even fash­ion­ably late.

Those Haus­es are some­thing I can't get used to. I know the Barm­bek Bürg­er­haus from Bal­ista meet­ings, and I don't know the back­ground of it, but they've got some sev­en­ties com­mu­nist look and feel to them. The lo­ca­tion and sit­u­a­tion with­in the neigh­bor­hood, the in­tel­lec­tu­al as­pi­ra­tions, café like at­mos­phere, like the مدرسة of post-war Ger­ma­nies. The fo­cal point of pre-rev­o­lu­tion­ary ten­sion, the place where things are hap­pen­ing, where the AK-47's are stored in a dusty cel­lar and will be hand­ed out when the time is right. Ap­par­ent­ly from an era where ar­chi­tects were con­cerned with those things and pro­vid­ed the means to so­ci­ety to form it­self. Meet­ing there with a dozen of FDP peo­ple could be con­sid­ered sur­re­al, or the oth­er way round.

But like with the vot­ing thing which seems bizarre in iso­la­tion, it all adds up in the big pic­ture. It's a step in the con­ver­gence to Bun­deskan­zlerIn. This isn't an epic monar­chy where fu­ture rulers be­have like fu­ture rulers be­cause they are pre­des­tined to be rulers, this is democ­ra­cy where peo­ple with­out myth­i­cal pow­ers can just be at the right time at the right place to make a dif­fer­ence. There's no mag­ic, there's no gap, there's just peo­ple.

And they're not id­iots. Au contraire.


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