The best country in the world

All around me I have been experiencing the reactions some people have when faced with something they did not expect. They tend to pretend that everything is all right and do nothing to change the situation. Then they look at someone like me, and think that my positive thinking is the product of the same mentality. I am not a hippie that thinks everything is alright, man, just chill and wait for it to happen. (no offense to anyone that might take the word hippie as a derogatory term)

Action IS necessary, and the current government and party have failed me. I had to act by voting for someone that had a better agenda, at least in the open political arena than then status quo. Bush let the government get bigger, not the social justice way, but the earmarks kind of way. The republican party failed to distance themselves from that, and did not provide the best candidate for me, and in turn failed me as a republican that had began to lean independent.

I am an idealist and I do believe that life can be “perfect,” but just like happiness, it is a very hard thing not just to achieve, but maintain.

I never pretend in my head that nothing is wrong, but I strongly believe that everything is going to be alright. Even though a huge portion of my way of thinking for me comes from faith, a lot of it also comes from logic. Mixing feelings and logic is a very hard task; I believe that it is one of those opposites like Mars and Venus in some ways. However difficult it is, enough force can hold two magnets together. The physics of it is kind of cool and measurable, but in life, how do we measure the force that makes us interact with other humans that might be rejecting us with their magnetic field?

I call that love… family… friendship… bonds.

In my life I have tried to befriend almost everyone that has crossed my path. Some people from the get go did not want to have me be a friend, some others I have lost along the way for many reasons… it always goes sour when I realize that the other side is not as willing to compromise as I am, or just simply do not understand what the word compromise really means.

I was taken by surprise when some of the people that I still call friends took very harsh stances against me as soon as our new president was elected; even though I had humored their constant ridicule of a candidate I thought will not just change America, but could change the world. Not in one or two terms in office, but planting the seeds of unity and hard work that will be required to make America the BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

One of the most hurtful comments to me after the election is why didn’t I move back to Colombia and tried to fix my own (insert your word here) country. That hurt… I thought that someone that had seen me go to college, learn things there not just about computers, but life, the way the system works, the way relationships shape our live. It thought the way that I had affected their lives and they had mine, had given them an understanding of who I am and made me a part of their lives… not just a removable piece. Just like the remote that serves such a purpose when changing the channel but you want to chuck out the door the moment you sit on it and feels uncomfortable. I can only hope that they realize that I did serve a purpose in their lives and I am not something that should be discarded… in that case I honestly believe it would be their loss.

So let’s talk about it… is Colombia a worse country than this one is? The answer is so relative it will take not just a PhD in political science and Latin American Issues to truly understand everything about it. To me personally it is a little easier to answer. In many respects YES, Colombia TO ME, is a better country than the US. I lived a middle upper class life over there, have family and friends that even though I been here for half of my life still receive me with open arms… and now there is the new addition of my wife’s family that are nothing but some of the best people I have ever met. Is my country or origin riddled with problems? Absolutely, but I have NEVER voted for a presidential election there even though I can… why? BECAUSE I LIVE HERE! and THIS IS ALSO MY COUNTRY.

Listening to the radio yesterday people were asked if Obama being elected had already changed American society. To answer the radio show question, I believe that yes, America has shown that even by a small margin the majority of this country elected who they thought was better for the job and not the race, that is a big step in the right direction. In my little microcosms it also has changed my life, I have felt how harsh some people can be with their words… I can only wonder how harsh they are with their thoughts.

At the end of the day I still believe that my parents came to the best country in the world, and I live in a country that is now in many fronts falling behind as a super power. If someone has not checked the numbers in China’s military in recent years they are foolish. If someone has not checked the earning power of the Indian middle class they are just plain blind. To believe that we are the only ones in the world is just moronic, and to rest on our laurels still thinking that America is going the right direction and there is no other point of view than the republican point of view will get all of us nowhere. That is not why this REPUBLIC was formed, quit trying to turn this in to the REPUBLICAN DICTATORSHIP and don’t be such sore losers. Work together to make this country better and instead of trying to predict doom and how Obama will ruin everything, see what YOU can do at the local level to make sure that our country DOES become the best country in the world once again.

I Told You So!

Just does not quite say it… now we have to work together, all of us, to make this the greatest nation on earth, with the best ideas, the most opportunity, lets change the world. Obama won just like I said he would. This will teach you guys not to doubt me when I am certain about something.

Meet the press

I was shocked and awed when one of my favorite public figures and maybe the most influential military mind of our times Colin Powell endorsed Obama.

As a former republican, I consider myself an independent now, I used to think that Powell could actually be the first minority president of the United States. I have always liked his character, his demeanor and his way of thinking.

We still got some time to go on this race, but the 100 and 75 thousand crowds in St Louis and Kansas City are another testament that Obama is being identified as the candidate that will lead the nation out of these horrible times of war and financial inestability.

The Republican Lies

I used to consider myself a republican, I used to even defend Bush when my then Canadian Compatriot, now my wife, used to blast Bush.

I was a republican because I believe in personal responsibility and accountability. I don’t believe in hand outs, big government or even affirmative action. I believe in opportunity.

In the past eight years I have seen our country fall economically and felt it first hand. Credit card companies and banking institutions started to suck people dry with carrot deals that many fell pray to. I don’t know how people can ignore the term predatory loans or Credit Card companies APR that doubled and tripled, not because of a missed payment to them, but a whole list of reasons that even when inaccurate cannot be reversed.

As a country we attacked the middle class and made it harder and harder for them to exist. The country of opportunities did not look like it anymore. With the republicans in power the size and reach of the government grew and grew and most of my fellow republicans started to justify all of the moves that contradicted the basic ideologies of the party.

When Katrina happened I was deeply saddened. I even mentioned Obama back then as someone that was speaking the truth very clearly. The land where I used to think there was no absolute poverty showed its ugly face.

During my professional career I have worked for a lot of Health Care institutions, sometimes in the technical realm and also as a translator and interpreter. I had the opportunity to learn not just about how the hospitals work, but also about the insurance companies. I also know what the percentage of what is done there has to do with money vs actual patient well being.

I am deeply sadden when I know that one of the big battle flags against illegal immigration is that “they” are “sucking” our health system dry, when the reality is that every uninsured American is a huge burden to those institution’s bottom line. Health care is not just about going to a place to die like it used to be 50 years ago, it is about preventative care and a better standard of living. However, as a society we are failing to a large percentage of the population, to the point that aide groups that used to go to third world countries to provide free health care are now doing it here.

Hearing all of the speeches against Obama have made me ask myself, “Why aren’t these people proposing solutions but rather trying to attack what the other candidate is proposing?” The one that irks me the most is about taxing the rich, which to me is people that make over $250K a year, but to MacCain is anyone that makes 5mil or more. I hear the excuses to support not taxing the rich and laugh, especially the line that someone says that they will take their money elsewhere. Last time I checked, most companies had been shipping jobs overseas more and more in the last eight years than ever before, and their money is also long gone.

If you are a republican, please listen carefully to the candidates and make your own conclusions without the spin. Give Obama and what he is proposing a good look. Vote for our future and not for a party.

Knock, Knock… Who’s there?

Globalization.

I am an immigrant to this great country, but I did become an American. For a long time I have been telling people how much better the education system is in Colombia compared to here, but people always gave me a puzzled look and moved along.

I am not sure if it is the National Geographic specials in India’s and China’s economy, or having read The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman, but the topic that worried me the most about globalization is education. It seems I am not the only one since this morning I listened to a radio add about the topic.

A young voice starts saying the name of countries, at first I started to think of the Olympics, but then then a voice over beings saying that America ranks 21st amongst developed countries when it comes to education. Nothing shocking to me yet, but then the voice over continues to sound the alarm saying that with education, jobs go. This is a harsh reality that we all have to face, unless our education system improves, we are going to have a generations of under qualified people, if not many.

Research is one of the fields that worries me the most. While the ethical and moral debate on stem-cell research is happening in this country, Germany, China and Japan are moving full steam ahead with not just research but human trials. Yes, in China you can already get stem-cells implanted.

Just the other day I was discussing the illness of an acquaintance, then I mentioned something that to me was common knowledge, but it was brand new to them. Germany has some of the best medical research in the world. Everyone thinks of the top place in medicine to be the Mayo Clinic or Harvard have the best in the world, but that is old information in today’s reality.

Talking with my wife about Colombia made me very sad. If instead of having to fight a drug war for the past 20 years, Colombia would have invested on taking education further, we would be in the same position as South Korea. It is a place where technology and intellectual growth has catapulted an emerging nation.

Space research was something that NASA pretty much had cornered. In today’s world, a lot of countries have a space program. Heck, even Colombia has its own satellite. The US is not the only one in the game anymore.

The U.S. is still an economic giant, but we should be concerned when just today it was announced that Mainland China is now the biggest importer of Japanese products. Just think of the acquisition power they now have with an emerging middle class… and that is not even thinking of India.

Watching the Olympics my wife said, wow, Beijing is such a beautiful city. I agreed, but then I immediately thought of the preconception that many people have that everywhere but the US is just underdeveloped jungle. How many people think that huge metropolitan areas are not exploding around the world. While this brings us another big questions which is the natural resources in the planet to sustain the growth in population, I still think the immediate issue for the U.S. is education.

Another trend that is kind of scary is people getting an education in the US at a high level, and then tanking those brains somewhere else. While there are some people that via telecommuting are working from a sunny beach most of the year, what worries me is the best innovative minds in the world not being here in America.

Don’t continue to think the rest of the world does not matter. Wake up call people, we drop down our education standards, and we will lose the skilled jobs of the future.