Cologne Needs You, Voltaire

It’s mayoral election season in Cologne at the moment, and thus the streets are littered with “Vote for me because I’m different” signs.

This morning on a main street I noticed several election adverts for “Pro Köln”, our local far-right, anti-foreigner party. This evening as I rode down the same street, I saw that the same signs had been ripped up, destroyed.

This disheartens me. I don’t like Pro Köln. I find their anti-foreigner message detestable, especially as I am a foreigner living in Cologne. But I believe they have a right to advertise their candidate for mayor. You can’t erase ideas you don’t like by ripping down signs.

As Voltaire apparently (but never actually) said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Where is that spirit, oh Colonian destroyers of signs?