The discussion was over the recent allegations in Germany against the Catholic Church in regards to sexual mishandling. The debate was saddening, since this has been an issue that has concerned the whole world, and created an increased air of mistrust in normally esteemed institutions, yet this debate in the Reichstag displayed a new side of Germany. Whereas from a personal perspective in the cities, Germany may not seem overtly religious, speaking from numbers in the pews or the perspectives from daily conversation, the church is still a major part of German history – note Martin Luther – as well as a taxable membership in the country as well. Debating how to address the issue from a political level – protests have swept Germany over the past weeks – has been a new insight into what Church and State represent in this modern world nation, with connections still to old world European customs.
The day was almost as full as the one before it – it is amazing to realize that I wasn't even in Berlin for more than 36 hours. I arrived, and before I knew it I was already on the train back, but this visit may have had an even greater impact on my than my initial visit. I garnered new outlooks on the party system in Germany, as well as how the representatives embody the views of their home cities and party ideals [ note from earlier that they are not directly elected from the people, instead the party is elected to fill seats, something still complicated for me to fully understand in the bureaucratic system] and I also came away with a new empathy for how Germany functions in the greater stage of European and World politics, a concept even America is still testing the water with under many circumstances in our ever globalized society.
I am very thankful to Dr. Knopek and my very kind coworkers that I have been fortunate enough to meet throughout my experience of interning at the FDP party. It was a very exciting new outlook on Berlin, and a perfect opportunity to have an enhanced perspective of Germany during my final months of Praktikum work this year.
The Bundestag sparked my enthusiasm in a different way than the entire collage of Berlin did. The Bundestag, albeit comprised of many buildings and the Reichstag, was cohesive. The Reichstag may have an outer layer of old Berlin, but the rest of the complex is modern. It may evoke a feeling of having limited personality and charm, but should those be characteristics of Government buildings? The Bundestag makes its statement – it may be young in an old, yet rebuilt city, but it represents a modern view of what Government can be to its people. Like the American government, the German government doesn’t go even a day without its flaws and controversies, but both represent very strong and proud ideals.
The Bundestag may be modern with simple style with construction, but there are halls of incredible art, from German, French, American and Russian artists, evoking the idea of Berlin's tug of war history being rebuilt, and these pieces can be found almost everywhere blended into the precise and angular shapes that embody the chambers of democracy.
[ With Dr. Knopek, the Abgeordneter of the FDP party for Göttingen, whom I am currently interning for ]
It would seem that the history of the Bundestag alone, from its grand history, ultimate relocation to another city, reconstruction, and artistic representations could fill an entire book. This is actually true, since upon leaving Berlin, I received a small gift including a book, over 300 pages, that serves just to cover the basics of the history and symbolism of the German Bundestag. Once again, I left back home with an abundance of many new outlooks and ideas from an incredibly inspiring city. Back in Göttingen, with Inge and Andreas just returned from vacation, and myself back from Berlin and finally able to unpack my bags myself, I had a new transitions to ease into once again.