I spend about 90 percent of my day just tapping the spacebar on my trusty MacBook scheming ways to move to Europe. Sometimes Canada, but mostly Europe. With all the crazy right wing nut jobs, surely Europe has the antidote.
Oh wait, maybe not. According to the Christian Science Monitor, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that multiculturalism has “utterly failed.” Great.
There is plenty to be terrified of here: 13 percent of Germans polled would like to see Germany run by a “Führer,” a word explicitly tied with Hitler, 60 percent would restrict the practice of Islam and 17 percent think Jewish people have too much power.
And the madness is spreading. Switzerland has banned minarets. In Sweden, a far-right party is represented in parliament for the first time and Vienna has voted a far-right party into a ruling coalition.
When I hear about stuff like this, I can’t help but wonder what their collective problem is. So what if there are minarets? So what if Turkish people are moving in to work and, you know, live their lives?
But I have to stop myself. I’ve been told that the United States doesn’t have culture in the way Europe has culture. I wish I could explain it, but I don’t’ fully understand what that means. Is culture in Europe more stationary than the US? Since we are a country of immigrants, I can see how multiculturalism has become the rule, whereas maybe in Germany it hasn’t. But it’s not something I can readily wrap my mind around.
I’ve tried looking at this situation through a human rights lens. Everyone has a right to their culture. But that doesn’t really keep it from seeming frighteningly xenophobic. I would love to give Europe the benefit of the doubt. After all, it is my imaginary, alternate reality home. But no matter how I slice it, it just seems wrong.