Brutally honest. This is my favorite narrative, which I learned from the “Regeneracionistas” an exceptional generation of Spanish Writers who the years before and after 1898 embraced a radical denunciatory style to announce “Spain’s greatest evils”. 1898 is known in Spanish contemporary history as “El Desastre” or “The Disaster”, the year when Spain lost its empire to the United States (Cuba, Puerto Rico and The Philippines) in the Spanish American War during the Presidency of William McKinley.
Medical doctors, auditors, analysts, rating agencies, referees and umpires, mechanics, the World needs professionals who analize without any bias or subjectivity the patient’s weaknesses, diseases, malfunctions. The importance of the independent, rigorous analyst is essential for the smooth operation of the system. In its absence, there is no good system to rely on.
In order to conduct this difficult exercise the analyst has to fulfill three requirements: first of all for the U.S. the analyst must not be American since most if not all Americans are patriotic, subjective, incapable of radical self-criticism; second of all the analyst must know the U.S. extremely well; third of the analyst must have a track record of previous brutally honest analysis. I published “Why Spain Sucks” in 2013 and “The Drama of Albania” in 2015 both published on The Huffington Post. I am a native of Spain who’s lived three years in Albania.
The United States of America is a great nation. Americans are mostly exemplary individuals driven by ideals and ambition, but also envy, greed and speculation as a means to reach the former. I have lived in the United States five years, attending my Junior Year at Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio TX, and graduating with Master’s degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University and Georgetown University, also being admitted at the University of Chicago. I have lived in Texas, California, New York and D.C. I have lived with an American Host Family and worked two years in Manhattan for a triple-A financial guarantor. I come from a country -Spain- which like the United States went through a civil war. We call these countries “guerracivilistas”, in the Spanish jargon, countries which are ideologically polarized, particularly politically speaking. I hold 8 Master’s degrees in engineering, economics and finance. I speak 8 languages, 5 of them fluently. I have lived and visited 41 countries. But most importantly I have read all the Brutally Honest Literature written in Spain before and after 1898, intellectuals, authors, who wrote in agony, with despair, about Spain’s oligarchy and caciquism, which would precipitate Spain into the 1931-1936 Second Republic tumultuous years, the 1936-1939 Civil War and 36 years of Fascism under Franco’s dictatorship. Trained at two of the best business schools in France (College des Ingenieurs) and the United States (Haas), I will summarize my analysis in ten bullet points pinpointing “What Americans Need To Do”.
ONE/ AMERICA IS NOT A COUNTRY
America is not a country but a whole continent. Americans -particularly the media- have to radically embrace the United States of America as the name of their nation. Americans have an excess of arrogance and a false sense of superiority which the rest of the World is well aware of. This superiority was manifest in the aftermath of World War II perhaps all the way to the Reagan Presidency, but it is not longer true. It also shows the Spanish speaking World south of Rio Grande that the United States continues to be the gringo and not the amigo it should have become long ago.
TWO/ APRENDAN ESPAÑOL
Most Europeans are at least fluent in a foreign language. Most of my classmates speak at least three languages. Bordering States with Mexico have to turn bilingual immediately. Spanish has to be embraced radically by the primary middle and high school systems, making it mandatory and teaching it at least one hour a day. U.S. based colleges and universities have to make mandatory spending at least one semester during college in a Spanish speaking University in the Americas or Spain. It should be a requirement to become U.S. President and Secretary of State to speak Spanish fluently. No U.S. President that I can think of has spoken Spanish fluently.
THREE/ BAN GUNS
Only the police and the armed forces should have the privilege of owning guns. The U.S. ranks systematically the most dangerous developed nation because of it’s crime rates and insecurity. Its reputation rankings are plummeting. It is increasingly becoming the Wild West, a scary place to live and visit. Amend the constitution, do whatever it is required to force individuals to return and destroy all guns. Guns are destroying more lives than they are protecting.
FOUR/ DROP FAST FOOD
The U.S. is suffering from a pandemic of obesity. No developed nation has more obese people as a percentage of the population. The number one reason is called fast food. Americans have to stop buying and eating fast food, particularly the one coming from franchises such as McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, so on and so forth. Stop buying and eating fast food, start eating healthy, locally.
FIVE/ STOP PURCHASING AT FRANCHISES
Walmart is the World’s most evil retailer. It is extremely efficient, but the benefit goes straight to the shareholder, not the customer, not the employee. The U.S. has been taken over by the franchise, small individually owned stores are almost gone with the wind. In the franchise the employee is squeezed almost to zero, prices are brought down enough, but margins remain to make sure the shareholder is rewarded. If you hold Walmart stock sell it. If you buy at Walmart, find another supermarket chain, preferably locally owned. Review your 401k, sell the stock of franchises.
SIX/ REDUCE INEQUALITY
Income inequality has to reverse its trend. If we drop setting caps on salaries, or increasing the minimum wage, the best possible policy for reducing inequality is taxing the wealthy to improve education, healthcare and infrastructure and reduce public debt to gross domestic product.
SEVEN/ CREATE A PUBLIC HEALTHCARE SYSTEM, LEGALIZE DRUGS
In many European countries (certainly not Britain) private and public healthcare systems coexist rather well, the public having a majority share. The U.S. needs to create a large, well endowed public healthcare system, in the same manner that all states have a large public University system. Drug consumption needs to be monitored and reduced through legalization and education. Inmates in prison for drug-related crimes need to be freed immediately to reduce the inmate population per capita in the U.S. the World’s highest.
EIGHT/ PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Americans have to stop purchasing cars, particularly large ones, and embrace radically public transportation particularly in large metropolitan areas. New York City has the best public transportation system in the United States, yet it lags way behind many other public transportation systems from Europe. Uber is not the solution to the U.S. traffic, congestion, pollution challenges.
Americans have to stop building new houses. Urban sprawl is counterproductive. It forces more and more American to drive longer distances each day to go to work, school, college, and in the absence of better infrastructure, it condemns the middle class to more hours spent on the road and less in productive activities. Cities’ downtowns need to be revitalized. Many should consider reside in an apartment building, more efficient than a large two story house. City centers need to recuperate the dynamism, vitality and security of former decades.
TEN/ DROP POLITICS
The political organization is an obsolete animal from the two previous centuries, democrats and republicans are all alike. It has become ideological, sided, inefficient, lacking meritocracy and most important in the United States, lacking vision. Politics, the U.S. foreign policy, the military, are all serving the wrong purpose and must be radically upgraded to meet the demands of the present and not the past. For more insight about an alternative governance system to politics read my pieces “A New Global Party” and “Coup d’Establishment” published on The Huffington Post in 2015.
The United States could be and should be to the World what California is to the United States. To operate and function well, a borderless integrated World needs the United States to operate and function smoothly, unlike today. And one more thing: close Guantanamo.