Monday, October 3

Current Events

West and East Germany became one nation on October 3, 1990, less than a year after the Berlin Wall fell and European Communism was relegated to the dust heap of history. Amid the initial euphoria, there was a general realization that creating a unified Germany would be a long and difficult process. Exactly fifteen years later, that long and difficult process continues--as evidenced by the election deadlock that has gripped the nation for the past two weeks due to the lack of a mandate by either the opposition Christian Democrats or the ruling Socialists.

In the "Unity Day" speeches given today by both the marginal electoral winner, Angela Merkel, and the outgoing Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, the "extreme difficulty" in building "national consensus" out of the "bitter divisions Germany faces" was emphasized.

Interestingly, the great nationalist poet, playwright, historian, and philosopher Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805) made that very same dilemma the central theme of William Tell, his final, and arguably his greatest work--published almost exactly two hundred years ago.

There is indeed, "nothing new under the sun." Not even in the most current of current events.

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