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Joachim Gauck: Former Federal President admonishes Traffic light coalition: “Sometimes toughness is also necessary!”

According to the former Federal President Joachim Gauck, the asylum policy of the current federal government is often too much guided by “wishful thinking.” Although it is essentially “something good” to practice charity and trust in the good and decent in people, politics must orient itself towards reality in order to be effective.

“In solving problems, a certain determination and sometimes even toughness is necessary!”, Gauck said in a conversation with “Bild”. He pointed out that the sudden decision for a tougher asylum policy at EU level late last year shows that the coalition has ignored unpleasant realities for too long.

However, even this change only occurred due to the pressure from the “mayors” in the country, who “have work and provide spaces, kindergartens, and apartments.” The government must finally realize that “not everything desired is achievable.”

Gauck: “Do you want Europe to lose control?”

No one wants to be the one who addresses and repeatedly discusses uncomfortable truths first. But, according to his understanding, this is one of the most important tasks of a democratically elected politician, Gauck told “Bild”. That’s what politicians are paid for.

“The fallacy is that debates [among the people] can be stopped,” Gauck said. “They are not stopped, but then they go into the spaces where the right-wing populists thrive. […] I want us to talk about the truth in the middle of society!”

No one wants to risk the address of problems leading to “20 or 30 percent of right-wing votes.” However, denying the problems will only lead to “40 or 50 percent” voting for the far right eventually.

Denying a guiding culture is deceiving oneself

In this sense, for example, the coalition government has long neglected to address the existence of Islamist organizations that openly act against democracy and are anti-Semitic.

“We are open, we are liberal, and we are also tolerant,” Gauck said. “But to be tolerant doesn’t mean automatically accompanying every kind of otherness with recognition and respect. Some things need to be criticized, and under certain circumstances, even punished.”

He considered it self-deceptive that parts of the government could not embrace the idea of a German guiding culture as a “unifying element for our society.” Even the Greens, who fight this idea, had internally “always developed very strong ideas of a guiding culture.” They were just “their own” ideas, expressed in different vocabulary.

Gauck: “We don’t harm people by demanding something from them”

The lack of toughness in current federal politics is also evident in labor policy. Those who distribute citizen’s wages must also demand performance from their citizens – for the citizens’ sake.

“Every soccer coach experiences it in the local team with his boys or girls: If we don’t demand anything from the kids, there won’t be any development,” Gauck said. “And the kids learn: we are capable of delivering performance. And by empowering them to bring forth the performance available to them, we strengthen them.”

One who says, “Oh, poor child, you don’t need to come to the sports field,” is actually not doing the child any good. It is not “anything bad” to demand something morally just from one’s fellow human beings, and to believe in their capacity for performance.

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