I’ve been asked many times in the past two months: “what do you think of Donald Trump?” It is a hard question to objectively answer but an easy question to react to.
Since early last year, I predicted that he would win the presidential elections. Why? Simple! He used an effective marketing strategy. I personally saw this recipe being applied by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 1998-1999. Having lived through that, I knew Mr. Trump would get enough votes to win the election. A lot of analysts and pundits were wrong in their prediction. Sure, statistical models are extremely useful, but our folly is to fully depend on them as the be-all-end-all prediction tool. With a bit of mindful observation and memory we should be able to see some facts:
- The president of the United States of America does not have absolute power. The system relies on bodies of government that are supposed to check each other. There is congress and a justice system in place to avoid the imbalance of power. Americans can make petitions to their representatives, and they can make a case for or against certain rules. In other words, they can balance power by using these institutions. They can use their rights to express their opinions. There are systems in place to help guide power.
- America is suffering from an ever-increasing gap between rich and poor. The problem isn’t necessarily the production of economic goods but its distribution, and that is accentuated by the fact that in “the land of freedom and opportunity” education is becoming harder and harder for kids to attain if they come from families with low income. So, the inequality in education is hampering the potential for upward mobility that allows people to have a dream. That is why an argument to raise job rates and income by adopting protectionist measures is so appealing to many American families.
- Finally, there is an increase in terrorist threats but not only from foreign militants, but also from inside. This is due to individuals that are subject to mental issues, social isolation and economic pressures. Confusion is inevitable – and it begets more confusion and contradiction. In a country that values freedom we can find an increasing prison population. In a place that values security, we see a lack of control when it comes to the commerce of deadly weapons.
Let’s admit it, historically it has always been easier to blame immigrants; anyone who is different from what we’re used to. We, as humans, seem to be hardwired to reject other groups and prefer our own groups (ethnic or otherwise). But we have to be fair. Instead of blaming, or pointing fingers, we should practice empathy in order to have a more constructive conversation about the issues that plague us. These times provide us with an opportunity to demonstrate and spread love, friendship, and show that we are all interdependent.
A fair outlook would lead us to conclude that the US has had a huge impact on the world, and that some of that impact is driven by the immigrant talent that makes up some of the country’s social fabric. I would appeal again our capacity to be mindful and perceive things as they are. We don’t have the truth and we don’t understand it all. I know many immigrants in the US that voted for Donald Trump, and we shouldn’t judge that fast.
The two best things we can do are:
1) Show compassion, be patient and see how we can help our fellows Americans. We should demonstrate our true friendship and solidarity and show them our appreciation for the programs that should continue, because they benefit the US and the rest of the world on many levels.
2) Study how we can benefit from the new American policies. For example establishing a quick and effective refugee or immigration program to help bring the talent that is stranded outside of the United States due to the executive orders. Another example would be improving our relationships with China and Asia to get investors for our start-ups and our own companies with the potential to create jobs here. We could also increase funding to international organizations that are aligned with our values.
We can establish strategic and tactical policies to reinforce our relationship with our sisters and brothers to the south and improve our international influence. We should not fear to denounce any violation to human rights and continue our quest for equality, justice and freedom.