Saturday, May 15, 2010
This yes, that no
Like in most countries, also in the Netherlands is a National Olympic Committee.
Headed by a 67-year old woman called Erica Terpstra.
Being the Chairwoman of the National Olympic Committee, she was attending the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, last February.
Supporting the Dutch athletes but also going to official dinners and parties.
After one of those dinners she went to a radio studio for an interview.
Pretty soon it became clear Mrs. Terpstra was drunk.
She was incoherent and unable to pronounce certain words.
Speaking with a thick tongue.
Of course, one day later this was made news by all newspapers and TV-channels and many Dutch people talked about their drunken chairwoman of the National Olympic Committee.
This was though in a forgiven way.
Mrs. Terpstra was not nailed on the cross for her public abuse of alcohol while on professional duty.
The general opinion was that such a thing can happen.
But that she should watch it and not do it again.
No career fall.
But last week the story broke of the State Secretary of Defense of the Dutch Government.
This State Secretary of Defense, by the name of 42-year old Jack de Vries, is a well-known Christian-Democrat.
He had been the spin doctor of his political party during the last elections that had been very successful.
As a reward he got the post of State Secretary of Defense.
Where he became even more prominent by being the fanatic promoter of wanting the Netherlands to buy for billions of Dollars the Joint Strike Fighter: the new American jet fighter.
The story that broke of Mr. Jack de Vries was that he and his family had to move to a military complex to protect adequately their lives.
First it was puzzling for the Dutch people when they heard in the press about this.
What was going on?
What could be so dangerous that a member of the Government had to move with his family to a military center?
A few days later, unavoidably, the true story came out.
Mr. Jack de Vries had an extramarital affaire with one of his collaborators in the Ministry of Defence.
Once this was known, he had to resign.
Had to give up his job and all his activities for the Christian Democrat party.
This under pressure of the Government, his political party and the public opinion.
He also had to give up the extramarital affaire and he is supposed now to try to fix the relationship with his wife and children.
A fatal career fall.
Based on these two unfortunate events, one may conclude that public opinion has certain norms and values.
Depending of the country, the culture and the traditions.
In the Netherlands, it is allowed for a public person to be occasionaly openly drunk.
But it is not tolerated to cheat on your wife.
An experienced politician like Mr. Jack de Vries knows this very well.
Once he got involved with the other woman, he knew it would be the end of his career and reputation.
Not only because public opinion would not tolerate it, not only because his Christian religion does not tolerate adultery, but in his position as State Secretary of Defense, knowing vital secrets about the security and military defense of the Netherlands, he could have become the target of blackmailing by a foreign secret service.
The question lingered then why Mr. Jack de Vries got involved with this collaborator in his office.
Why did he do it?
A question like this can be asked best to the Queen of Dreams.
She knows those things.
Her answer is that the story of Mr. Jack de Vries shows how strong love can be.