In a meeting room above Bertelsmann, in Cologne, Vice President Joe Biden has learned that enough Germans are turning to far-right parties for change in society to prompt a peculiar national product declaration from supermarket chain Coop, which has built up a reputation as an exemplar of multiculturalism.
“We’re going to accept more low-income groups than ever before. We’re going to give packages that said ‘Banana Rights’ to battered women, we’re going to give them baby food, we’re going to put them in the shopping cart,” said Coop, whose founder turned it into a model to make big business financially sustainable in Germany in the postwar years.
Mr. Biden leans in.
“We’re going to go farther than ever before, Joe,” the vice president says. “It’s part of who we are.”
The Iraq war shows just how far Americans have pushed so far that their newfound generosity toward Americans on the other side of the ideological spectrum may crack at some point — perhaps this election, perhaps some other time — as alliances rupture, respect erodes and minds turn.