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During the 1980s there was a song called "Promised You A Miracle" but I always heard it as "Promised You America." And that is where my blog received its title from.  In the previous century, after the Second World War, many Europeans sought to immigrate to the United States. America was the promised land. It was a beautiful, safe country. And a free country, there was no welfare state. The immigrants that came to America had to work to survive, there was no alternative.  My father was one such immigrant after leaving Holland after the Second World War. He worked many odd jobs until he became his own salesperson, first selling Dutch chocolate from his VW van to supermarkets in the US, and thereafter, eventually by hard work, becoming a successful fine art dealer.  One of my first jobs after arriving in America in 1983 was that of a busboy at the Bankers Club Carnelian Room. Some people might look down on that but I was looking down upon them as the restaurant was on


Angelique Reitsma

It was a typical Dutch gray day. No rain, no sun. The train had just left the Utrecht station on its way to Bunnik. I was now only minutes away from seeing Angelique. The last time I had seen her was over thirty years ago when she visited me in San Francisco.

The last time I was in the Netherlands was in 1997, when there still was the Dutch guilder and freedom. Now returning so many years later, the monetary currency was in euros and the cultural currency was in lockdowns, face masks and QR codes. Dutch sovereignty and freedom had taken a beating. Holland had fallen once again, but this time from within. But we were no longer allowed to make historical comparisons.

When the train stopped in Bunnik, my compartment was the farthest from the platform. When I stepped out, I saw a silhouette in the distance waving at me. It was Angelique. She was dressed all in black, with a long raincoat that looked like a cape and with a wide brimmed black hat. For a moment I felt I was in one of those Zorroesque Sandeman commercials I grew up on as a boy in the Netherlands. It was mysterious, like my friendship with Angelique. I walked towards the mystery and with each closing step things became clearer as I saw her long, blonde hair becoming more noticeable. Angelique stood tall. Angelique was Dutch. 

The Mystery of Sandeman Port

I had a small suitcase rolling behind me and just as I released it to hug her, she fist-bumped me with her black leather glove and said in Dutch: “Helaas dit is alles wat we kunnen doen” -- “Unfortunately this is all we can do.” 

I was stunned by the standoffish greeting but hid my disbelief with a stoic facial expression as I followed Angelique to her car. As she kept small-talking, I kept thinking: After all these years and past experiences together, she greets me with a first-bump?

Once we were inside her car, I wondered if Angelique really believed all the corona hysteria? If so, why wasn’t she wearing a mask? And why had she invited me to stay the night at her place? It made no sense.

What I hadn’t told Angelique was that I had reservations at the Postillion Hotel. And after the cold fist-bump, I suddenly had cold feet. I was thinking it would be better to stay at a hotel and have my own space. So after Angelique started driving, I told her. But she abruptly flinched and said that she had already arranged everything for me. She asked me to visit her home first before making any decisions, and I agreed, thinking maybe I had been too quick to judge. 

Once inside her home, she showed me the room she had prepared for me; it belonged to her son who had moved out for college. Everything was nicely organized. I gave it a thumbs up, and Angelique called the hotel to cancel my reservation. And all seemed fine. 

We then had lunch in her kitchen and to my delight Angelique had bought me some North Sea herring. After lunch we took a long walk together through the Dutch meadows that was located right behind her home.

When we returned, she offered me beer and potato chips. My favorite combination. Angelique and I had communicated with each other over the years, but there was nothing like seeing each other in person. We had so much time to make up for. But then the topic of vaccinations came up.

At some point I told Angelique about the Dutch immigration officer at Schiphol Airport asking me if I had been vaccinated, and him being surprised that I wasn’t. I myself found this surprising because I believed that the Dutch were far more sober than the Americans about the corona hysteria. Americans seemed to believe everything the news media told them. I myself had experienced too many masked women running across the street on a sunny day as I was approaching them as a pedestrian from the opposite direction. The bizarre collective hysteria was something reminiscent of a Rod Sterling Twilight Zone episode.     

Corona virus hysteria reminiscent of Rod Sterling's Twilight Zone

Moreover, it was the Dutch political opposition to these government lockdowns and QR codes that had inspired me to visit Holland again. From what I was reading in the Dutch media, there was a strong philosophical movement against the corona policies of the Dutch government. I was most impressed with Thierry Baudet and Gideon van Meijeren from the FVD party, Forum voor Democratie. They rejected not only the government "science," but also the government's edicts nullifying the people's freedom in the name of "public health." Most impressively, they opposed the government mandates on moral grounds.  

In the United States no politician was able to articulate it like Thierry Baudet and Gideon van Meijeren, and there was no political party like the FVD. The best thing some Republicans would say was: "Well, I strongly recommend getting vaccinated, but it should be a choice." But this was not an argument that would win back the people's freedom from a government that had just usurped them. 

Suddenly it seemed that the democratically elected governments in the West who normally received its "consent of the governed” now had become the rulers. 

Now the government had rights, and the people only had privileges. And when the rulers were in a good mood, they would temporarily toss some of these former freedoms back to the people like bread crumbs . . . and then take them away again. All in the name of science.  

The peoples' "freedoms" were now all based on fluctuating government "statistics" that they alone tallied, defined, computated and controlled. The people's freedoms, their individual rights, were now dependent on government numbers. And like all forms of tyranny, the rules were not objective and consistent. They instead were whimsical and arbitrary.     

Thierry Baudet, Forum voor Democratie (FVD)

I hadn't shared my thoughts with Angelique, but I did tell her that only a few weeks before my arrival in the Netherlands I didn’t have to show a corona test result, then suddenly I had. Then one day the US was considered a safe country, then the next day the EU said it wasn’t. Then one day US citizens arriving in the Netherlands were subject to quarantine, then the next day they weren’t.

But Angelique didn’t appear very interested. I tried stoking her curiosity by mentioning that many corona virus policies had been wrong and ridiculous, such as the wet/dry sand rule. I explained that when all these lockdowns occurred in California, people were not allowed to sit in the dry sand of the beach (and were arrested). But they were allowed to walk in the wet sand along the beach. This was all considered “science.”

None of this seemed to interest Angelique. She just looked at me with a blank stare and asked me why I wasn’t vaccinated. When I explained that I believed natural immunity was better than the vaccines, she reluctantly agreed but said that vaccinated people wouldn’t become seriously ill if they became infected. I responded to her by saying that the research from Israel showed that the majority of people hospitalized were vaccinated. Angelique then asked me if I was an "anti-vaxxer." I told her I wasn't, but I didn't believe the covid vaccine to be effective or safe. Angelique then said she had to go upstairs for a moment.

When she returned a few minutes later, she told me in a very controlled and subdued manner that she was extremely angry and that I wouldn't be able to spend the night in her home. When I asked her if it was because of my views on the corona virus, she confirmed it was. When I told Angelique I was open to listening to what she had to say, she declined. Less than two hours ago she had greeted me with a fist-bump and now she was about to farewell me with a boot-bump.

A few minutes later Angelique was driving me to the Postillion Hotel, and calling them again to see if she could “uncancel” my reservation while cancelling me into an "unperson." 

Becoming an "Unperson" for corona "wrongthink"

We exchanged no words during the ride. I just kept looking out the windshield and wondered at what point in her life Angelique had lost her humanity. She had a higher education than me and her social circle was comprised of academics and white coats. She seemed to believe that therefore no reason or rational discussion on her part was required. She seemed to think that she had the moral high-ground by virtue of who she was. The thought occurred to me that if Angelique was so much better educated than me, then why wouldn't she help me find the truth?    

But it seemed that Angelique's decision for booting me had nothing to do with facts, logic, and reason. I simply had the wrong opinion and had committed a "thoughtcrime" as George Orwell would say, and maybe I no longer deserved to be part of society. Moreover her circle of higher educated friends on their Facebook posts had mocked people like me, ridiculed people like me, and dismissed people like me, with phrases such as "WAPPIE." They certainly couldn't discover that Angelique had me as her friend. Maybe this is what it was all about.

Angelique and I both came from modest backgrounds, but Angelique had always been encouraged by her mother to climb into higher social circles. Her (previous) marriage and friendships were mostly based on these criteria. This type of class consciousness is common in Dutch society.

A lot of it has to do with the Dutch caste system that is still inherent in its culture. In the Netherlands, the Dutch government seems to exist primarily for the royal family. The existence and justification of the monarchy is based on pedigree supremacy and superior social standing. The biggest cheerleaders for the Dutch royals are the Dutch media and politicians, and there isn't a day that seems to go by without the royal family being in the news, in one positive form or another.

Ironically, the Dutch speak a lot about equality, but its culture is still rooted in a caste system. The king and the upper political-media class (what Thierry Baudet refers to as "the cartel") lecture the working class about "diversity" and "equality" while they praise refugees (and lobby the United Nations to import more). They put people against each other so the focus will be on race, not class. This is how the Dutch upper class seems to maintain its power over the working class. It's a modern form of "divide and conquer."  

King Willem-Alexander lecturing the working class about equality and diversity

I first met Angelique in 1986 at a cafe across the railroad station in Leeuwarden, Friesland. I had arrived there with my date, Jacqueline, and just as we were sitting down my eyes met the eyes of an elegant, young man who I immediately recognized. His name was Ronald van Blanken and we both attended the LDS high school (Lagere Detail Handel School). He was dating Angelique. Several hous later we were all drinking coffee in Angelique’s home in Franeker, with her mother, Rita, offering Ronald and I small cigars while asking me questions about my father whose apartment was only a soccer field away.

Several weeks later, after my return to the US, Angelique wrote me a letter stating that my father and her mother had met each other and fallen in love. They were together for almost 20 years until my father died in 2005. 

My father, Doede Bruinsma, was captured as a teenage boy during the Second World War and forced to work in a German weapons' factory, but he escaped and walked all the way back to Franeker. His best friend was Wijtse Vlietstra. Both men became very successful by hard work and were well known in Franeker. My father became an international art dealer and Wijtse the owner of a large window-washing company.  

When we reached the Postillion Hotel, I took my suitcase out of the trunk and walked towards the lobby door. Angelique was standing by the car, seemingly offended that I didn't say goodbye to her. After I reached the reception desk, I looked back and saw that Angelique was still sitting in her car. After confirming my reservation, I looked back again and she was gone. And so was our friendship.

Postillion Hotel Utrecht Bunnik

Angelique via Utrecht

Franeker, Friesland

After WWII Doede Bruinsma, as a young man, immigrated to Canada

Doede Bruinsma passed away in Franeker in 2005

Wijtse Vlietstra, also from Franeker, was a good friend of Doede Bruinsma 

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