FOCUS online report: Lateral thinkers want to crash Lang’s performance – then the audience lets them run up
At the public talks in Ingolstadt, there was a threat of trouble for the Greens leader Ricarda Lang. Several lateral thinkers tried to hijack her appearance in a pub. But Lang and the audience let them run up – also thanks to the clear presence of the police on site.
Ricarda Lang has already been on the road for three days on her second “summer trip” as party leader of the Greens. For three days it was always fair and well-behaved, even when there was criticism. In Ingolstadt, however, that should change on Wednesday evening.
The program included a “citizens’ talk”. Half a dozen retirees—some tattooed, hands in the pockets of their shorts, scowling—had positioned themselves at a safe distance from police officers on Kreuzstrasse well before take-off. When the Green leader arrives, they hold out their posters to her. The message – unmistakably: “This country is run by idiots”.
Asked by the reporter why there are idiots in the government, a gentleman in a plaid shirt and beige trousers replies defiantly: “If you don’t see it, you don’t have to be surprised”. The man doesn’t want or can say more.
A few minutes later, a black van drives past the crowd of critics. The leader of the Greens goes into the bar, flanked by police officers, where the public talks are to take place. Some of the older men yell at Lang: “Liars,” “Warmongers.”
Ricarda Lang resounds “lies” from the farthest corner
It is clear that the citizens’ discussion with 80 or 90 guests in the small restaurant would not go smoothly when four green direct candidates for the state elections introduce themselves on stage before Lang’s performance in the stuffy, hot local air. Instead of applause, loud gossip in a group in the corner of the bar. Repeatedly murmured comments towards the stage: “What nonsense”.
The group gets really loud when Ricarda Lang enters the stage and explains that climate protection and prosperity are not mutually exclusive, but on the contrary that “prosperity will only come about with climate protection”. “Lie!” resounds at the leader of the Greens from the farthest corner. And for the first time, many heads are turning in the pub to see who just shouted that word.
Corona myths are rehashed again and again
After Lang, alluding to the strengthening of the AfD, explained that the Bavarian elections were also about “approving democracy”, she thanks the police: “We can debate here because we are protected, thanks to the police for that. But it is also sad that something like this is necessary.”
Of the dozen questions that the audience asks of Ricarda Lang, two-thirds come from lateral thinkers. It’s always about Corona. A woman alludes to an alleged obligation to vaccinate and rants about wanting to decide for herself what happens to her body cells.
Lang never loses his nerve and is understanding but determined. Of course, politicians have to work through things that went wrong during the Corona crisis. “I’m happy to apologize for the fact that the day-care centers were closed for so long and it wasn’t possible to visit dying relatives in the hospice,” says Lang – and receives thunderous applause for it.
Loud applause for answers from Lang
Another listener accuses Lang that the Greens ensured that Germany bought expensive fossil fuels in disputed countries after the start of the Ukraine war. The German arms deliveries are also criticized. Why not start peace negotiations with Russia immediately?
Nevertheless, Lang calmly replied that the moment for such negotiations was wrong because Putin would then annex more parts of Europe. “We want the war to end, but with human rights, not without them.” There was loud applause for this as well.
Disturbing intention of lateral thinkers did not catch
When the question and answer session ended after a little over half an hour, two things are clear. First: There weren’t many constructive questions about the work of the Greens, the disruptors were too loud for that. Second, the intent of these disruptors failed. Despite some provocation, Lang remained calm – and the majority of the audience showed her with loud applause that this was exactly the right strategy.