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by Peter Moskos

May 18, 2010

Dutch Tea Party

This is so bizarre I first thought it was satire: A robbery victim gets arrested and the robber gets fed wine and cheese! Classy. But it's not satire.

Trots op NL means "Proud of the Netherlands" and is a fringe right-wing political party that is playing on racism and fear of crime.

Is white people drowning in a swimming pool too subtle for you? "But I do like," writes my wife, "how because it's European, the white-people-about-to-drown image has a certain avant-garde-theater vibe to it."

The video is all in Dutch. If it makes you feel any better, I can't understand a lot of it, either. But the visual is good enough to get the message. Party leader Rita Verdonk is going to make the streets safe and you proud of the Netherlands. Some parts I can understand has her saying:
This is the Netherlands. It's not safe anymore on the streets.... This is what our daughters put up with everyday.
We're fed up! Government makes the wrong decisions for years and hands you the bill. Out with bureaucracy. No welfare for those who don't want to work. No more foreign aid. We need that money here for elderly and handicapped.
Too many regulations. Too much tax. Out with the tax agency. One tax rate for everybody: 25%!
Why it's a regular Dutch Tea Party!

My emigrant brother says, "The only unexpected thing is her pitch for one tax rate. Now it is 42% (or 52% for the wealthiest). The poorer have a few lower levels, too. I’m not sure how she will pay for her plans." Brother Andrew continues, "The funniest thing is the people that live in these (targeted) neighborhoods are not in fear of crime."

Even with all her happy Dutch supporters (the butch, the baker, the candlestick maker), Verdonk doesn't even pretend to hang around any racial or ethnic minority. I mean, even Republicans politicians like getting photographed with black people standing around, even if almost no blacks actually vote Republican.

"The only distinctively 'Dutch' people she can muster at the end," continues my wife, "is the chick in the silly white bonnet? You've got to admit, it's sort of flimsy in terms of national icons." Indeed. But Americans might have to be reminded that this is supposed to represent conservative Holland. To my American eyes, it looks like the start of a crazy liberal costume party in Portland or something. I mean, somebody even biked there on an orange bike!

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