Former Federal President: Gauck: Defending democracy in times of crisis

Former Federal President: Gauck: Defending democracy in times of crisis

The rise of right-wing populism and Islamism has also shaken some of Joachim Gauck’s old political certainties. The former Federal President draws a clear conclusion from this.

Former Federal President Joachim Gauck has called for commitment to liberal democracy in this time of crisis. “Our liberal democracy must be defended simply because we have not yet had a convincing alternative model,” wrote Gauck in a foreword to the updated new edition of his memoirs. “Even though it may not be free from shortcomings, democracy remains the best form of government we know and the refuge and longing for the oppressed worldwide.”

Gauck’s memoirs entitled “Winter in Summer – Spring in Autumn” were first published in 2017. In the new edition published on Wednesday, Gauck admits that his “historical optimism of the past” has been put into perspective. “In any case, with the disturbing drift towards the far right and the Islamist currents, the certainty that our liberal democracy is consistently stable and indestructible has been lost.”

Constitutions neither automatically protect us from authoritarian politicians coming to power, nor can constitutions ultimately prevent democratic principles from being undermined. “But instead of complaining about the undoubtedly existing dangers and standing idly by as developments unfold, I would like to call for people to mobilize their forces and look for solutions,” Gauck continued. This should happen “not by falling back into authoritarian thought patterns and structures from supposedly lost golden times, but rather with political and practical innovations that take the new circumstances into account.”

“I wish that young people and those who have never had to live in bondage could make liberal democracy their inner conviction again or again,” said Gauck. “Because we, the citizens, are the ones who either gamble away freedom or defend and preserve it.”

Source: Stern

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