Donald Trump can make USA richer, but not great

January 31, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump’s political slogans during his presidential election campaign were so effective that it succeeded in persuading many to follow his steps about one of the most radical plans that USA has seen in decades. He particularly repeated “We will make America great again!” almost ad nauseam. But one thing is being able to make fantastic promises in front of a microphone and a very different one is being able to fulfill them. Can Trump make real his slogan with all implications that bring for American people?

NO.

     Many things that were done and said during the election campaign were all an act. Because of that, perhaps, many people in USA and around the world think that Trump is an incompetent person, which is, in my opinion, far away from being real. He might not be intelligent, but take it for granted that he’s not an inept person either because the inept cannot become millionaires or build economic empires. The real problem here is that people today mistake the concept of greatness for wealth. Through history, we have seen that any economic change has made any nation great. That is because greatness is more associated to social changes than economic ones. The United States has been number one for decades in terms of economy, but when it comes to social issues, inequalities and social problems, the gap between the different sectors that make up American society is almost as vast as any state inside the country.

     From the beginning, American society was established over unfair foundations, above all, as a result of racial discrimination and prejudices, to a point that not even his first president, George Washington, could escape from this situation since Washington himself had hundreds of slaves at his disposal. More than two hundred years later, today, white and black people keep almost the same differences they had in the past. Not even Barack Obama, the first black president in the country’s history could mitigate the negative and fatal effects that this situation has created. To solve these problems, more determination is needed and, perhaps, a president with different personality.

     Donald Trump knows very well how to make money on a large scale. However, his capacity to deal with social and political problems is still untested. So, his idea about “making America great again” sounds like another unfeasible or at least questionable political slogan if we take the social inequalities we mentioned before into consideration and the fact that greatness is the result of justice and social equality, two aspects from which United States seems to move away.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.

Copyright 2017 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

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Understanding Japan (2): Structured mentality

January 15, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

DRUM

An old axiom says: “We do what we think”. But if you are not entirely convinced of it, you can confirm it by watching some enormous Japan’s steel structures: They are safe, hermetic and framed like… the way people think in that country.

     The common use and selection of a word over others in a region is not something done at random or on a whim, but this selection represents the way of being and thinking of the people who live there. If you travel to Japan, frequent words that you will hear are “omou” (think), “yotei” (plan), “shinpai” (worried) y “anzen” (safe). These words can give us a clue about the basis on which Japanese personality is forged and established: Japanese people can only find peace of mind when all things are under control (I mean, everything is well planned and safe). Therefore, if possible, their activities should leave no room for improvisation. Let’s see an example:

     In Japan, the beginning of a new year is not in January, but in spring, when the fiscal and schools year really begin and new employees will make their “debut”. During this time, you can go to any ceremony and the person in charge of delivering the introductory speech will make quickly reference to the end of the winter, and above all, the arrival of the spring and well known Japanese cherry blossoms. In that regard, everything, every word is planned throughout to a point that you will find books to write speeches for all occasions: funerals, weddings, etc.

CHERRY-BLOSSOMS-2

     This kind of fixed and schematic mentality is instilled into Japanese people at early age until it becomes a feature of their personality and something very common. As a result of this, things should be inside a foreseeable frame. If something is out of it, anxiety and some kind of sense of unease will be haunting them, sometimes with terrible consequences. So, they will be working, as many hours as necessary until the unexpected and new situation turns into an old one, that is, something that can be handle according to the “handbook” they have for each case.

     Compared to other ways of thinking, the Japanese mentality provides one of the best chances for success thanks to its constant emphasis on planning, security and logical answers for problems. In fact, it has been the key that has kept Japan for so many years with a solid economic growth despite its situation after the Second World War.

     The other side of the coin, however, does not seem to be so good. Trying to keep everything under absolute “control”, trying to find perfection everywhere has created “uncontrollable” levels of stress that have pushed more than 30000 people every year to commit suicide for decades. If Tanaka, to cite an example, forgets the keys to open the place where a party will be held and Kawauchi forgets the drinking glasses, because of the delay that this situation creates, even though it has not started yet, the party will be considered a failure. And the most important thing: Since Japanese people do not forgive as quickly as they say “gomennasai” (ごめんなさい=I am sorry), Tanaka and Kawauchi will face tough times. Without any intention of falling into stereotypes, in the same situation, but with different people in a Latin American country, the party had probably started right there: in front of the closed door. Someone who, by the way, was not the person in charge of the drinking glasses would have gone to the house of a supposed friend near the place to get them and… at the end, everybody would have gone home joking about the problems they had to start the party, laughing and saying that they enjoyed the party a lot. This story can teach us that flexibility during contingencies is as important as planning.

     Japanese mentality shies away from uncertain situations. However, uncertainty might also be a “friend” when it comes to inventions. Note that most of greatest inventions that have changed the world have not come from Japan, but from USA, England, France, Italy and other European countries. Japan has improved them, as it has done with cars, bullet trains, etc.

     Finally, we can conclude that if some aspects that characterized the way of thinking and acting in other cultures, like a good dose of humor, flexibility and certain amount of drive in the face of the unknown is added to the Japanese mentality, we could have found an incredible method of thinking that can solve not only many of your personal problems, but can help to have a better world too.

Copyright 2017 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Hillary Clinton did not fail. Her political team did

December 13, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

hillary

For winners, things turn into a bed of roses or, at least, can be seen through rose-tinted glasses. Even your enemies will become your friends, by the way, suddenly. But don’t lose if you don’t want to be surrounded by detractors and people who are not able to tell you how to win, but will surely give you a string of reasons for which you were defeated. Hillary Clinton’s defeat during U.S. Presidential elections is not an exception. From journalists to politicians, from a barber in his barbershop to his clients, many people in general were trying to explain why she lost to Donald Trump, on the grounds that she could not recruit enough voters from the Hispanic sectors, she could not attract women’s votes, etc.

     And the question is… What’s new about all of this? Are not the same things that sank her in 2008 against Barack Obama? We all know that Hillary Clinton has never been a charismatic political leader. She is, in fact, the product of hard work, a lot of money and fame. So, those reasons mentioned before, are somehow her political weakness, a ballast that she wanted, but couldn’t drop it.

     When the most evident part is only thought, subtleties cannot be seen or understood. These subtleties happened just days before the elections and cost Hillary to be out of the White House today. I am referring to the moment when her double-digit lead was reduced to 4%~5% after the FBI director, James Comey, decided to reopen Hillary Clinton’s email server case. This mere lead could have been enough for a politician like Obama, for example, and perhaps, even for Bernie Sanders if he had been in Clinton’s position, but not for her because Hillary Clinton had proved in the past that she is not a person who can unify her party around her.

     And how did her political team respond to this delicate situation? With two terrible mistakes: First, to counteract by attacking the wrong target, Donald Trump’s wife, instead of attacking Trump directly. Second, to rest on its laurels by considering the lead as enough for a victory. These two mistakes were, in my opinion, the real reasons that made that election night one of the longest, if not the longest night ever for Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.

Copyright 2016 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


The crucial mistakes of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil

November 29, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

sao-paulo

Those who have watched the fireworks can understand better the turbulent career in politics that Dilma Rousseff has had in Brazil. A dazzling display of fireworks lits up the sky, people enjoy them and, minutes later, they cannot even remember their colors and shapes. Something similar happened to Brazil’s first woman president. If the almost incredible and efficient shinkansen cleaning system in Japan is subject of study in Harvard University, Rousseff’s case should be also studied because of its oddity. How could this lady go from a loved president to an impeached one, from a removed president from office to a forgotten president in her own land. Her two crucial mistakes can tell us the answer.

     First: Her inability to show, especially when dealing with problems that involved men, that she could be a person of strong character like anyone else In Brazil, corruption and bribery have always been acting like a pair of lovebirds. If during her presidential terms, problems related to these aspects had a huge impact, the reason must be found in her excessive gentleness towards some government employees, a mistake that was used by her political adversaries to take advantage of it. When she had to act like a hangman (in a figurative sense), she took an indulgent stance.

     Second: Not to be surrounded by people loyal to her. During difficult times for a president, loyal people will help him or her to stay standing. That was not Rousseff’s case since the more imminent her removal from office was, the more difficult to find people at her side was. In politics, of course, it is hard to foresee who is going to be loyal and who is going to be a traitor because the last one can be from your chef to your vice president.

     You do not cry over your mistakes, but learn from them. In Brazil, sooner or later, other women will hold the presidency of that South American nation. This is my recommendation for them: Be ready to become a hangman (in a figurative sense), if it is necessary, be careful of opportunists and traitors if you do not want to be forgotten or leave through the back door as Dilma Rousseff had to do.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.

Copyright 2016 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Olympic Games: For more sports without borders

August 29, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

OLYMPIC-GAMES

     “What do you want to do right now?” The journalist asked. “I want to go back to Japan immediately!” The Japanese judoka said after winning a gold medal during the first days of The Olympic Games in Brazil, an answer that highlights the major problems facing sports today. He looked like a typical worker at the end of the day: “It’s six o’ clock, I finish my job, I go home,” with the huge difference that this athlete probably goes back to his country with a medal, fame and money waiting for him. At no time, did he talk about observing other competitions, encourage his friends, enjoy what it was supposed to be his most important event, etc. Later, people booing during a volleyball match between Japan and Brazil and an Egyptian judoka who refused to shake the hand of his Israeli opponent are enough examples to understand how the commercialization and politicization of sports are making sporting directors, coaches, athletes and spectators swim in “dirty waters”. These days, people do not see two remarkable athletes trying to show their magnificent sports qualities by giving their very best, but a war between two countries represented by two athletes. Rather than the competition itself, the countries’ rank in the medal table seems to be all that matters.

     Sportsmen have turned into wage-earing athletes who try to win at all costs since it would mean a new house given by a president or much more money into their bank account. This way of thinking has led to an increase of the number of athletes found guilty in anti-doping controls. The shameful Russia’s doping scandal during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics corroborates that the Olympic Games are business, to some extent, dirty business in which corruption walks freely bribing people from the International Olympic Committee to coaches and athletes with money.

     The real and pure sport is dying or, perhaps, it would be better to say that it is being killed by the illicit. If we do not tackle the problem at its root today, none sport will be worth seeing tomorrow. A possible solution to this problem could be that athletes do not represent their respective countries, but themselves. Thus, the Olympic Games could get the once-respected spirit back and athletes would not have to live with the struggling mixed feeling, half shame half pride of holding around their neck a dubiously awarded medal.

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.

Copyright 2016 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


USA: The problem of black men killed by police must be seen from all angles

July 17, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

PROTESTERS

When you try to find a solution for a problem and you only look at it from one angle, what you get at the end is a wrong or a partial answer. This is exactly the situation that the U.S. government, mass media and people in general have every time that a young black man is killed by police. They focus their attention, comments and bias either on the black killed man or on the white officer who killed him. When two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were killed in different incidents, but only separated by an interval of hours, the mass media quickly informed that 123 people have been killed by police so far this year with official figures showing that young black men are 21 times more likely to be killed than young white men. In cases like these ones, Many people always take to the streets in protest against what they call clear racism. Some people, like Micah Johnson, who killed five police officers in Dallas’ shooting, are looking for retaliatory actions against white police officers. And all of them are absolutely wrong because they only see or can only see one angle of the problem: A WHITE police officer killing an UNARMED BLACK man. They are only thinking about racism. How about the other angles?

     Police officers take action based on judgments. If their calculation is wrong they can be killed or they can erroneously kill an innocent man. They do not base their actions on racism as many people believe, but on figures, and in statistical terms, who has the greater proclivity for the use of force and murder? Obviously, this argument does not entitle an officer to shoot a black person during a situation that “looks suspicious”, but it will give you an idea (if you put yourself in his or her place) about the difficult dilema they have to deal with: To shoot or being shot. I do not defend or approve any action that leads to the death of any person since it is an horrendous act regardless people’s color, actions, etc. However, it is not inconsistent with that to say that police officers are not killing black people because of racial prejudice as many people think or say. Police officers who daily deal with cases where black people are involved are not the best. I know that, you know that too, but they are not the bad guys of the movie either. They leave home and do not know if they will return until they ring the bell, which means that they live day by day under constant stress. It is very easy to criticize when you are not the person who is in great peril. Put yourself in their shoes and you will see and feel different, you will understand that there are more angles to see when it comes to solve this problem.

     Whenever USA is shocked by cases like Alton Sterling’s and Philando Castile’s, people do not waste time to label them as “unarmed and innocent black people who were brutally killed.” Unarmed? Probably right. Innocent? Absolutely wrong. Many of these black people who have been killed are far from being angels, just to cite one example, these two young men whose death sparked immediate national protests were not precisely role models or something similar: Sterling’s records show that he had been arrested in the past for aggravated battery, criminal damage to property, marijuana possession and for carrying an illegal weapon. Castile had not felony convictions like Sterling had, but Minnesota police had stopped him for driving without a muffler, for not having an insurance card, for driving after revocation of his driver’s license, and so on. They accused him of minor traffic issues dozens of times. The fact of having committed a crime (either a single misdemeanor or murder) can not justify the decision of shooting a person to death. That’s not right. But it is not right either to protest in the streets in the way many people do, defending those killed people as if they were a portrayal of Mother Teresa simply because they are not, at least, that is what they criminal record shows.

     Racism exerts significant influence over a police officer when deciding whether to pull a trigger or not against a black person in the United States, but this is not the only fact that causes the problem. It is not the problem itself. Economic and social inequality, the wide gap between the haves and the have-nots and low levels of formal education might well be the real reasons of the loss of so many lives. Now the important question is with people’s attention directed towards the tip of the iceberg, will they be able to dive to the bottom and find the crux of the problem and its solution?

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.

Copyright 2016 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


The United Kingdom: With politicians made of ice, its future is more uncertain

July 11, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

LONDON-ELIZABETH-TOWER

The most similar thing to the relation between The United Kingdom and the European Union is a kid who received a toy: At first, the kid is always playing with the toy; later, he gets tired of it and put it aside. He breaks it up into pieces, just for curiosity and, at the end, he will be crying because he cannot fix it.

     The most important representative leaders in favour of the “Brexit” (British exit from the European Union) Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove broke the United Kingdom up with their propagandist comments and political manipulation, and now all of them may suffer the same fate: To disappear from the political stage without being able to prove they were right in doing what they did or what is worse, without paying for their mistakes. Nigel Farage, who was the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), was the first who ran away. Faster than an ostrich, he rushed out and left the awkward situation they created themselves to the others. Farage made the soup too peppery and he did not even try it. He created a social and political predicament and did not know how to solve it. Boris Johnson, the spokesperson who gained adherents with his flamboyant style and personality to vote for the exit of the United Kingdom from EU in the historic referendum, changed the tone of his speeches to one more moderate and conciliatory, a clear sign that they were unprepared for the situation, that they never imagined a victory. And what was Johnson’s trophy for that? A word thrust from Michael Gove who decided to remove his support. Gove had from the beginning clear intention to play the game together until certain time, and later, to play alone for a bid to be the next Prime Minister. He only wanted to take advantage of David Cameron’s resignation and the uncertainty created after the result of the referendum. Now that Gove was eliminated from the contest, the Secretary of Justice might be remembered as one of the worst political leaders in his country and perhaps, because of the widespread repercussions throughout Europe, in other countries too.

     The United Kingdom´s history has seen better Prime Ministers than David Cameron. However, let us be fair: Compared to these pseudo-politicians mentioned before, Cameron looks like a genius because he is firmer in his convictions. The latest actions taken by Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove after the referendum show political ignorance, disloyalty and, above all, lack of responsibility. They are undoubtedly politicians made of ice. People in the United Kingdom must be glad that summer is here!

This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.

Copyright 2016 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.