Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is calling for sticking together in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. In his pre-release Christmas address he stressed: “We are one country! Of course there are uncertainties and concerns about the pandemic, he said. After two years, there has been growing frustration, irritation, alienation and, unfortunately, open aggression, the head of state said, while admonishing that people still need to be able to look each other in the eye after a pandemic.
The tone of the discussion is decisive
What is decisive is the tone in which different opinions are discussed, within the family, among friends and in public, Steinmeier said. In his speech, which will be televised on Christmas Day, he thanked citizens for acting prudently to avoid infection. He said the often silent majority had acted prudently and responsibly for months.
More than ever, people are now dependent on each other, “me on others and others on me,” Steinmeier said. The state is being challenged. But it also depends on each individual: “The state cannot put on a protective mask for us or vaccinate for us.”
Steinmeier advises listening to “competent advice”
Steinmeier called for rethinking the concepts of trust, freedom and responsibility in the context of a pandemic. Trust can mean relying on competent advice, “even if one’s own doubts have not been completely overcome.” Freedom can also mean limiting oneself in order to protect the freedom of others. On the issue of responsibility, Steinmeier urged us to consider whether we are deciding only for ourselves, or whether a decision actually affects many others.
German president reminded of flood
In his Christmas address, the federal president also recalled the flood disaster that occurred in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate over the summer. The “solidarity with the flood victims” in the form of donations and active aid offers hope. Steinmeier also praised the voluntary commitment of countless citizens: “Day after day, you all create a network that connects and maintains our society for the common good.”