‘I have gotten closer to my American roots again’

Be it in fear, hope, excitement or indifference, the world holds its breath as we await the USA presidential election today. In this fourth and final episode, American UT students, Evelyn Karelse and Roos de Vries, share their thoughts on the election, the political climate and the Dutch and American way of living.

Evelyn Karelse

Trump or Biden? 

‘Both of the candidates are not ideal in my opinion, and I am juggling with the idea to vote for a third party. But I prefer Trump over Biden. One argument against Biden is that his political track record is poor. For example, he was involved in getting legislation approved that made it easier for minorities to land in prison. Meanwhile they are selling Kamala Harris off as being of a different skin color, while they should focus on her qualities... It all seems very hypocritical to me.’

‘Trump on the other hand – aside from appearing like an asshole – has stopped more wars from happening than Obama has started. Instead of spending on military intervention, costs are now spent on brokering peace. Should you have put Trumps exploits on Obama’s resume, the media would have praised his efforts. You have to keep in mind that a lot of the media is privately owned, therefore they do run their own agenda´s. Propaganda is a strong word, but it should be very obvious that the majority of the media has their preferred candidate.’

Proud or ashamed?

‘The entire system is as corrupt as can be. I do not believe that the system is built for anyone that has any form of integrity to run for president. Then there is the issue that this two-party system supports polarization in our country. I don´t see this issue as one that belongs to just one political party. If you are in favour of Trump, you are not allowed to have contact with people that vote for the other party since party partisanship is so strong in the US. The political system in the United States is not sustainable at all.’

America first, Netherlands second?

‘I do consider myself as a Dutch person. I have been living most of my life now in the Netherlands. Since the university is English speaking, I have gotten closer to my American roots again. Being part of a community that is international has put a spotlight on realising I am also part American. I notice that the elections in the US is also a very big topic in the Netherlands. People in the Netherlands are less accepting when you tell them you are not voting for the ‘preferred’ winner, but once I explain my reasoning, they usually show understanding.’

Roos de Vries

Trump or Biden?

‘I came to the Netherlands five years ago to study here, now I am back in California for my internship. Since I have both Dutch and American citizenship, I am allowed to voted in the US - and I already have. Many people don’t vote so it became quite a shitshow here. I vote because I feel responsible to be heard and since my parents can’t vote, I feel especially obligated to.'

Proud or ashamed?

‘I am a Democrat and although I think Obama was incredible and had good leadership qualities, I don’t know if Biden also has them, but he is the best option the Democrats have. After the last four years, I am still proud to be American, just shocked by the extreme disparity between everyone. People stopped respecting each other although this is a country that encourages peoples’ opinions, values and freedom.’

America first, Netherlands second?

‘I disagree with the statement. It depends on how you want to live. If I wanted to build a house, I would do it in the US since it is easier. On the other hand, the Netherlands are better managed and raising kids would be safer there. It is more socialistic and there is another way of freedom. Where I currently am, Corona is wonderfully managed, everyone is wearing a mask and it is better than in the Netherlands and also different from how it is portrayed in the media. Choosing between both countries would be like choosing between your parents.’

Roos de Vries.

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