Dear Mr. Scholz,
Thank you very much for your letter in which you invited me to become a citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany. The recent introduction of standardised electronic EU permanent residence cards, one of which I had the pleasure of picking up recently (see below) has no doubt made it simpler for you to streamline your database and target the Ausländer of Hamburg in your drive to promote the benefits of citizenship in this great land.
I have given the matter a great deal of consideration, but have decided for a number of reasons that the chances of my becoming a German citizen are – at this time and most likely even if the temperature of Hell hits zero – zero.
Responding to only some of the many advantages you list:
All the rights I currently enjoy including the right to pay taxes will continue as before.
Mr. Scholz, I don’t mind paying taxes. I’m Canadian, after all, where wallets are sold with special pouches that flip open automatically for quicker tax payment at every turn of the road. But if you’re trying to sell me citizenship on this basis, you should re-phrase it somehow. How about: You will continue to enjoy the warm, fuzzy feeling you get knowing your contributions to the great European Social Project and other black holes including the Elbe Philharmonic Centre, the new Berlin Airport and the bailout of Greece, will go on as before.
The German passport will allow me to enjoy visa-free travel to many countries.
Mr. Scholz, allow me to condense in a few lines how much of a pain in the kiester it was the last time my family crossed the Canada-US border by land on the way to Seattle. I was flashing a Canadian passport, so no trouble there. But because my wife was travelling on a German passport, we were singled out for special treatment and made to park our car off to the left in a huge lot and leave the keys on the dashboard. I’m sure they had a good sniff though our undies as we shuffled off to a humungous building nearby to join the waiting queue of people in a similar situation.
Two hours and I forget how many US dollars in fees later, we were on our way again, but not before my wife and daughter nearly burst their bladders as they tried to find a toilet for those waiting their turn. And to top it off – this is completely our fault – my wife forgot to get her passport stamped on the way out of the country, so there’s no telling what bureaucratic bullshit awaits our return to the US on holiday sometime this year. An overnight stay in their specially designed hotel rooms, perhaps?
Ahah! I now recall where the German passport has it all over the Canadian: when we were travelling to Turkey, the price of a visa for Canadian passport-holders was the highest in the world. It’s more than double what anyone else pays. That’s because Canada soaks the Turks for an equal amount for visas to Canada. Fair is fair. A German passport holder pays diddly-squat.
I won’t have to deal with the Foreign Residents’ Bureau anymore.
Because it is so very enticing, this point should be way up top. But considering it is only once every five years that I have to get up in the middle of the night to stand around in front of a locked gate for a couple of hours to be handed at 6am a chit that allows me a couple hours later at 8am to get one of only 60 waiting-room numbers issued on any given day for the chance to hand over my new paperwork to one of your minions, well… I guess I can deal with it. Besides, I love the smell of mothballs in the morning. Smells like…
Mr. Scholz, I am unfortunately unable to continue this open letter because my upper limit of 700 words per blog post is fast approaching. In a world where few read anything on the Internet beyond block letters superimposed over a cat pic photo, you have to keep it short and sweet.
PS. Damn the word count, when will Germans ever learn to spell my fz*cking name right? I know nearly every automated computer system in the country explodes at the insertion of a capital letter in the midst of a name with no room for a space, but if you’re going to be communicating with Ausländer – some from countries with languages so bizarre the word for ball contains a glottal stop, four Ms and a silent Q – you really should try to update a bit.