Contribution by Roger Strassburg, an American who has been living in Germany for over 20 years. Roger was a volunteer editor at the political Web site NachDenkSeiten from 2009 to 2015. He left the NDS last October for reasons similar to those of Wolfgang Lieb.
Roger was recently visiting the US with his family and provides his thoughts on the presidential election - as perceived on both sides of the Atlantic.
"We just got back to Germany from two weeks in South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. We managed to avoid political discussions for the most part, since most of the folks we visited are pretty conservative, disliking The Donald, but loathing Hillary even more for reasons that appear to me to have more to do with the Clinton hate-machine than with anything reality-related.
But hey, that's what it's like to come from a red state (South Dakota). Being Republican means never having to say the other side has any virtues. Facts aren't important, and, as it turns out, not even ideology is – it's all about tribalism, which means that your side is always right and the other side always wrong, regardless of the situation, regardless of the arguments.
These folks belong to a cult – a cult of "values voters" who listen to charlatans who always explain why they have to vote Republican in order to vote their values, even if that Republican is as contrary to their values as The Donald. This is how it has been for decades, and it doesn't surprise me a bit that in spite of the disparity between the values of the candidate and the voters, this time is no different – I would have been truly surprised if were.
This is particularly true of the religious right. If The Donald were to run against Jesus, leaders on the religious right, such as Falwell and Dobson, would opt for The Donald, since he's the Republican candidate, i.e. a member of their tribe, then condemn Jesus for his weakness, Socialist ideas, bad character and general lack of conformance to "Christian" values, and their followers would follow, all the while calling themselves Christians.
This is how the religious right works. It's ugly, but very simple and predictable – once you understand that, you'll call it right every time.
Now we're back in Germany, and I'm once again confronted with a similar cult, one that considers itself leftist, but increasingly concurs with the American right that Hillary is evil and that Trump is somehow okay, the difference being that it demonizes the entire US instead of just Democrats. And so we see this article http://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/die-spd-und-ceta-us-konzerne-wollen-ihre-interessen-durchsetzen/14470112.html in the Tagesspiegel.
The thing that gets me about this article, and various other places, is that CETA is seen as dangerous not because companies from Canada could sue the EU (via ISDS) to weaken its regulation, but because US companies could do so via subsidiaries in Canada. EU companies could do the same, of course, as could companies from anywhere else. But who worries about them – they're altruistic and don't pursue their interests, only US companies do, and only the interests of US companies are contrary to those of poor Europeans, who themselves, of course, only want to do good in the world.
In both cases, tribalism (us vs. them) in the form of a cult, the latter implying that information that contradicts the "cult leaders" is rejected out of hand as being a form of enemy propaganda.
Beam me up, Scotty, and fast! I can't stand it anymore!"