It’s serious

In all my 48 years on this earth I have not felt so scared for the future as I have felt in the past year and a half after Brexit was voted for and after the US elected an idiot president. In my lifetime I never liked any Republican US president, not Reagan, not the older George Bush and I thought it could not be worse than George W. Bush but I was wrong. I was not a fan of their politics, just like I’m not a big fan of our current Dutch prime minister, but with them I never quite felt like the world was going to end. I do sometimes feel that now with the man who has got to be the most idiotic and dangerous Western leader since Adolf Hitler: Donald Trump! News of the idiot reneging the Iran nuclear deal and telling lies about it as justification is the latest example of his idiocy.

It’s not just Donald Trump and his “me me me” nationalist right-wing racist and misogynist philosophy that scares me. It’s also this whole right-wing nationalist trend, dipped in racism, which is so prevalent in Europe right now that is so damned scary. Donald Trump is alienating the world and when Europe needs unity more than ever to face it, we have Brexit happening and elections in Austria last year and recently in Hungary where nationalist right-wing leaders win (yet again and seem to get more extreme). In the past 70 odd years there never was any danger of war for our small nation alone. We are part of a bigger European Union and the big USA was our friend. Together we could handle it all, but USA doesn’t feel so friendly anymore and the EU is showing cracks. Is it the beginning of the end? There’s a move towards ‘everyone for himself’ and excluding others and for me the end of that move is only darkness, devastation and possibly war…

In 1997 mandatory military service was abolished in The Netherlands. Even before that, it was easy to avoid conscription for even minor health, psychological or conscientious reasons, because there really was no need for a big Dutch army in a unified Europe standing together. Mr Esther never had to serve because of his asthma, my older brother never had to serve because of a minor foot problem he had, my younger brother never had to serve because of a back ailment… I think my other two brothers weren’t even called because they were living abroad and still are. If they were called, there certainly was no difficulty in not having to go into the Dutch military.

My son is turning 17 in two months time and the other week a letter for him arrived from the Dutch Ministry of Defence…

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What the letter says is that, as he is turning 17 this year, he is automatically registered for military service. He doesn’t have to serve, as there is no conscription anymore, but he is registered.  Every Dutch man between the ages of 17 and 35 is registered and should there be a need in the future, he can possibly be conscripted and called upon to serve in the military after all. He could possibly have to serve up until the age of 45.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in defending yourself when faced with evil and I do commend military people who put themselves in harm’s way for peacekeeping missions, as the Dutch military does now. The idea is noble, although I feel that war and violence never is the real answer.

I always hoped we had learned from the second World War and that at least within Europe and the US we would never have to fear such evil self-serving idiot racist leaders anymore. Democracy would put a stop to the most extreme ideas and extreme leaders, I thought. Isolationism and “me me me” power struggles were over, now that there is cooperation in Europe and with the US, I thought. Racism after Auschwitz is only a fringe idea now, I thought. I guess I was wrong. Even when ‘justified’, in my heart I do not believe in war. In the end there is only death and destruction and lives torn apart.

If my son had received this letter from the Ministry of Defence 10 years ago, or maybe even two years ago, I would just have acknowledged it and laid it aside. But when I see what the Western world I live in is becoming now, for the first time I really am worried. A lot has happened in two years and even more can happen in the next 18 – 28 years! Yes, my son won’t have to go into the army now, but what will the state of our world be in 5 or 10 years time? What if we are slowly sliding into a World War III? What if my son does have to go to war one day? I don’t even dare think of that scenario… I don’t want my son or anyone else in the generations after him to have to experience war… I always hope that mankind will learn its lesson but with all the wars and devastation already in the world now and with these scary trends now in Europe and the US, I feel that any lessons that may have been ‘learned’ are so easily forgotten. I want my son to live in peace, I want all of us to live in peace!

My son is not in the least bit worried, not yet in any case…

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… but I am…

16 thoughts on “It’s serious

  1. yesterday was a seriously frightening day. I’ve stopped saying “the most frightening” because every day brings a new crisis.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. There isn’t a day that the Orange Clown doesn’t do something detrimental to this country and the rest of the world. Arrogance in a leader is bad enough; combined with ignorance and stupidity, it’s dangerous. I never thought we’d be dealing with Nazis again. Maybe they don’t teach WWII in history classes anymore… 😔 May Our Heavenly Father protect your son.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Well said! The thought of another world war is terrifying. Made more so, because it is so preventable.

    Both my husband’s father and my father served in WWII–which was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Yet, I hope your son is spared having to serve–and peace becomes once again a global goal.

    And I pray that U.S. democracy–of fairness, decency, a spirit of peaceful coexistence, dignity, wisdom, respect, etc.–is reborn in order to reset our country toward a peaceful path and wise leadership for the benefit of all.

    Liked by 3 people

    • My maternal grandfather was in the Dutch resistance during the war and my paternal grandfather was a pastor trying to keep morale up during WWII. The war had such an impact on them and their children (my parents), as I’m sure it had on your father and father-in-law! I just don’t wish that for anyone else anymore… Maybe I’m too pessimistic and I just hope that I am! I’m so very much hoping for that peaceful path and wise leadership…!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. janesteinmiller

    Esther, if you figure out what’s going on with all the hateful, and evil coming out from under their rocks as though they’re in charge, please let me know. Sometimes old sayings exist for a reason. “The world is going to hell in a handbasket.” fits.
    Try to remember what is also going on simultaneously. Women banding together, to say enough is enough about everything from Trump, laws governing women’s bodies, harrasment and rape, and guns. Young people standing up to say if adults can’t protect them, then they are going to step up, and make the changes happen themselves. As bad as things have become, it has spurred on movements to fix and improve. There’s always hope. Have faith, spread love, refuse to be defeated by those people. They will not win.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Even in the darkest of times, there have always been movements of hope and resistance, I do know that and I do hold on to that. I just wish so very fervently that it doesn’t have to be so dark! And so many people cheering that on too… I was reading this morning that Trump’s approval rating is at a low 40% but 40% is still a lot in my eyes! In the 18 months since he became president he has been able to hold power despite acting like a dictator (I mean, just yesterday he said 91% of news about him is negative and he therefore suggests taking away news credentials!) and lining his own pockets.. He wants to drain the swamp? He’s creating an even bigger one! I just don’t understand how he can hold on to power this long and just do stuff without being checked. Here, if our PM wanted out of an Iran nuclear treaty, he’d have to get that through parliament first…
      I really hope they will not win, but for now it looks like they are winning despite loud protest and opposition and that is scary as hell.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I don’t know what to say because i feel very similar. Not scared per se but frustrated and at a loss of understanding why things are the way they are? I spent a sunny bank holiday day watching a 2 part documentary on Syria and the war made by a journalist who has been there all throughout it and regardless of sides taken it is just utter disaster and civilians and a country destroyed. And it just seems emblematic of the way of the world these days. I just cannot understand what drives these people, why all the hatred and racism and narrow mindedness. Public discourse is ever more negative and angry, even here. Even i feel more radical in general and less tolerant towards these views. Brexit is testing my patience to the limit but then again i realise that radicalisation on all sides is bad for everyone. If we don’t manage to build bridges and sit down and talk , especially with those whose views are so opposed to ours and try and understand each other, nothing good can come of it.
    What happens in some countries in Europe is very scary but angry doesn’t help anyone. We all find these view unacceptable but i feel we are not helping either. Really don’t know what the way forward is, other than talking. But i am finding it very hard to listen and engage because i feel so much anger myself 😦
    There has been a lot of debate here as well about what free speech actually means. It’s easy to say everyone has a right to their opinion, but not so easy when you hear things that frighten you, that you hate and that you don’t understand.
    Maybe we are living through the hardest test democracy has even been put through to date…
    In principle i always think it all starts with education and exposure to diversity, and i still strongly believe that. But we’re talking reality here, what do we do with the current situation? How do we learn to bridge the gap before it is too late?

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think you have a great point that this may be the hardest test of democracy! I try to understand the opposing views, I read them – in the end it all boils down to that I still can’t understand how people tend to overlook plain old humanity. The basic “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” seems to be the most difficult thing for people to do, from all religions or from no religion at all…

      Liked by 1 person

      • PS, and I realize I am guilty of this myself! I mean, I call the man an idiot when I don’t want to be called an idiot myself…

        Like

        • This is one of many reasons why IMO “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is an unworkable rule. (The Jewish version, “that which is odious to you, do not do unto others” is only marginally better). There are facts, there is truth, the dictates of morality are not all subject to my personal preferences. But many of these far Right politicians have thought structures that prevent them from thinking of their victims as equal others anyway. In my experience most of them would subscribe to the Golden Rule anyway.

          Liked by 1 person

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