I want to thank Mr. Schirmer and students at Reuchlin-Gymnasium for the wonderful opportunity to have productive conversations around the political state of Germany.
My knowledge on German politics is very limited but I can speak to the cultural differences and stereotypes between different regions of the same nation. With America, as many others before me have stated, the nation is divided in different regions, each that holds a specific stereotype. For example, the Southern region of America is stereotypically racist, confederate, and uneducated while the North East is filled with emotional, stuck up liberals. Similar to Germany, the Southern part of America is paid less and the cost of living is less expensive due to less taxation (less money is allocated towards education and healthcare in the South). The Civil Rights Movement has ended nearly 50 years ago yet cultural difference continue to exist today.
This phenomenon of reunification and remaining cultural differences exists in Vietnam. Coming from a Vietnamese American family, my mom often connects with many other Vietnamese people living in the area. One of the first questions she'll typically ask them upon introduction is "Did you come from North Vietnam or South Vietnam", where South Vietnam is regarded more highly compared to the North as a result of the Vietnam War. Visting Vietnam, I have the privilege of having both sides of my family be from different regions, (my mom's side in the Central/North area of Vietnam while my dad's in the South). The Central/North has incredibly poor housing and no healthcare whatsoever. Many make their living off selling locally grown fruits or handmade crafts in a village market. The South, however, specifically Ho Chi Minh City, is more city-like, with malls, public fountains, parks, etc. Because of this cultural difference while still being united under one nation, I can understand how in a sense both sides are still divided.
How could you end this phenomenon and mend regional differences under one nation? I believe that if a nation shares similar values, then we can work together to achieve a common good. The values between East and West Germany are different in work and productivity. The dividing issue I've noticed was that East Germany's narrative always included the West side while West Germany hardly mentions the East side. To unify the sides amongst cultural differences is to create a narrative where both can view the other as an equal.
As for politics, I've researched quite a bit on the rise of the Alternative for Germany. I want to ask how do Germans view the AFD party? Do they see it as helping keep the borders of E.U closed as a safety measure or is the AFD seen as more aggressive and frowned upon, in the way Americans view ICE? I compare Chancellor Angela Merkel's leave of parliament similar to Ruth Bader Ginsberg's death. Chancellor Angela Merkel serves as a more liberal stance, advocating for immigration and refugees, in a similar RBG stood for LGBTQ rights and Women's rights. Merkel's replacement candidates right now are all male, so I believe. I think as a successor to Angela Merkel, Armin Laschet's policies and ideas ring similar to Merkel's and would mend ties with other countries.