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Newly Dutch and confused.

I’m a newly minted Dutch citizen.  After 20 years here, I was “ingeburgerd” last year, which means I am the owner of a Dutch passport and fully conscious of my responsibilities especially in the light of the looming election - the first in which I can vote.

But in this country that’s no easy choice - we’re not just talking Democrat aka Good and Republican aka Bad guys here - we’re talking about a place where there are more potential coalition partners than I’ve had dance partners.

So I just did the questionnaire which gets the voter to say yeah or nay on specific questions like: should rich people get taxed more?  Duhhh yes.  Or should organ donation be automatic for everyone unless they’ve signed a form that shows otherwise?  Absolutely.  Or should people be banned from wearing the headscarf in government offices? Nope - why?

The idea is that your answers are then mapped against the agendas of the different parties and your true colours are revealed.  I always thought mine were red and green - seeing as I’ve been a lefty greenie hippie sort since teenage days, though thankfully I’ve now got better dress sense.  And I am an admirer of the leader of the Labour Party, one Mr Job Cohen our wonderful ex-mayor of Amsterdam.  But it seems that that old cliche of growing further to the right as one grows older is true after all.

It seems I’ve sidestepped just a teensy bit into centre ground - won’t tell you the name of the party that emerged as the one I’m most in agreement with, but rest assured it’s not the one headed by the Blonde Devil (Geert Wilders, to anyone who’s been keeping an eye on Dutch right wingers).

I’m still loathe to trust this poll, so I’m doing another one - maybe I need to keep doing them till I get one that shows me the colours I still think myself to be instead of what I really may be deep down.

The immigrant vote - meaning the recently naturalized citizens, like me - could count for 10% of the swinging seats.  So I’m taking this seriously.  It’s the first time after all, I get to use my voice in the leadership of a country that has, against all previous bets, become my home.

4 Comments on “Newly Dutch and confused.”

  1. #1 David Berridge
    on Jun 2nd, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    First of all, Dheera, work on extending your dance card!! When politics becomes this pluralized compared to other social matters, this is too much!! Refering to our good and great friend Geert as the “Blonde Devil” sounds really far-right evangelical for a non-American election!! Nonetheless, it sounds as though you are more certain of your choice than you may think as the “big day” draws closer!! There is always Harry Potter to fall back on as well as something for nearly everyone in D66. What is really important is the emphasis you assign to exercising the franchise and encouraging others to do so as well. Before you know it, one day in the future you may even decide to join a political party and help out with all sorts of fun things. Don’t worry about getting ‘conservative” with the addition of a few more years of time and experience in life, this is a normal phenomenon as the “older folks” either don’t have or don’t want to spend more time experimenting with idealism at the cost of pragmatic gains in one’s life. This is a time of consolidation, not confrontation, with others in society, when you feel more as a guardian and responsible for steering the young along a wiser course. Of course, this can be vigourously resisted by numerous segments of society, but at least one’s heart is in the right place!! A regular participation to RNW’s Have Your Say more than attests to this!! I wish you a happy election and voting experience, Dheera, and good luck to the canidate and party of your choice!

  2. #2 Dheera Sujan
    on Jun 3rd, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Thanks for the advice David, though I think the time for extending my dance card is gone. Life is enough of a dance these days.
    Can’t see myself joining a political party anytime soon though - but thanks for the words of encouragement - and keep participating in SAW and our other programmes - we put a tremendous value on our listener feedback and support

  3. #3 William ben melekh
    on Jun 18th, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    of all the countrys in the world why would you choose the netherlands to live ?
    im just asking this becuase i am curious what makes the netherlands so special.
    especialy compared to india or pakistan.


  4. #4 Dheera Sujan
    on Jun 22nd, 2010 at 10:49 am

    The Netherlands chose me - it’s a long story. But I don’t discard any of the cultures I claim - just amalgamate them into a mixed integrated whole

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