(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


11 DECEMBER, 2016

The Things We Do

DELFT - Back when I was first living in Delft, and traveling around a bit, I was often asked to explain American race issues or actions of the military. I did my best, but I'm only one person and have only my own perspective.

About the 2016 American election, it was different. When done, 2.5 million more voters of all who voted, went for Clinton. Thus, Mr. Trump is the next president, he won the Electoral College. That makes no sense to the Dutch I know, nor to me, but it has happened before (2000) in American elections. Dutch elections are coming up in 2017, and I still do not know all of their names much less what they stand for. That is academic since I may not vote in it. It is law in the EU and the US.


"I believed it when I read that no one was more surprised than Mr. Trump when he won the American Presidential Election of 2016. I was right behind him among the second-tier of 'most surprised'."

I haven't looked very hard, but there are some notes about Mr. Trump on the internet. My impression is that he was born into New York real estate but has an obvious talent for theater - and a good helping of rascal. He likes the ladies, an old-fashioned way of saying skirt chaser. Had things gone differently, imagine him wowing New York with his graphic revival of Anthony and Cleopatra or even in the singing role of Curly in Oklahoma!. America's gain; Theater's loss.

There seems to be nothing modest about the man, and he will confirm that if asked. But, Americans like to think their president reflects their best ideals; they look for any sign he does not. I liked the two Obamas. They brought a smoothness to his two terms, a personal style.

As I understand it, folks vote, people go to Den Haag if they win enough and government functions via coalitions. So far, the US and NL are side by side. We differ in how a PM is selected and how a President is chosen. It is really a separate election.

Again, makes no sense to a Dutch person. They do politely hold their laughter when I bring in the role of the Electoral College: 2 votes from 2 senators and votes based on House members - by state. Add that up and, like in poker, 'read 'em and weep'.

Conversations about Mr. Trump tend to drift into silence, everyone looking confused, here in Delft anyway. None of us know of a nation's leader using Twitter as he does - using it so casually, so often, at such early hours, and only about his opinions.

The Netherlands too is arguing out its own race issues: over the color of Zwarte Piet's face or who gets housing assistance and when. Folks who may not have gone to church for some years object to people of other faiths coming in.

My feeling is the old America I had taken for granted, and thought I knew, just went the way of the Soviet Union. It broke apart as I watched on pc-tv. Meanwhile, the stock market is going nuts in anticipation of good times. For whom?

G. Wiley / NLStrabo - © Copyright - All rights reserved - gwileynl@gmail.com
In memory of Herb Caen