I am writing this in English instead of my vernacular Spanish, hoping it will find its way to Washington, D.C., the capital of the nation that owns us as a colony, as prime consumer of its goods, and as prime source of its military, Purple Heart recipients and combat casualties.
The American Dream is universal. All of us desire a better life, better education, better opportunities and a better standard of living. To us, the United States of America provides those opportunities. Forty percent of my own family has embraced them with no plans of ever returning to Puerto Rico, a decision that I neither blame nor regret.
Higher education has the supreme role of providing the tools for structuring the cultural, social, and economic well-being of society. The search for truth and for solving the multiple problems that afflict us is a moral and academic mandate. These searches must be carried out where (1) the freedom to search (research) is guaranteed and (2) where there is full access to all ideas.
Though not all knowledge can be grasped by a single mind, all minds must be granted the opportunity of seeking higher education to the limits of their understanding. True higher education is characterized by its academic excellence and generosity, never by hoarding or being selfish.
Many have been blessed by having had the opportunity of attending the best schools of our choice. In those schools we shared experiences and ideas with fellow students, faculty, and researchers from all over the world. This inevitably resulted in a more cosmopolitan and international vision for all. Students that return to their home countries upon graduation take with them the seed of democracy that they experienced while in the U.S., plus the scope of their academic experiences. These opportunities have now been abruptly curtailed by President Donald Trump.
Research and development may best be viewed not as the domain of one nation, but as the result of conglomerates of thinkers —from all over— that have gathered where their specialties have brought them; where they benefit from the intellectual and technological infrastructure of having their thoughts bear fruit. Many of these technical and intellectual centers are in the U.S.
The human genius is enlightened by the stroke of an idea unique to a given mind. As soon as it is shared, it becomes a universal idea. Such strokes of genius come about wherever a mind may grasp it, not just in the U.S. By cloistering itself through walls and isolationism, the U.S. distances itself from universal thought to its own detriment. Great ideas and discoveries surge spontaneously anywhere. Benefit from them comes only when the discoverers communicate their ideas.
The world today is so irrevocably interconnected that seeking to separate ourselves from the world becomes a grave —if not impossible— error.
It has suddenly become patently obvious that our new president is isolationist and autocratic. Based upon analyzing behavior that has become public knowledge, responsible professionals from reputed medical academic institutions have publicly diagnosed that he suffers from “malignant narcissism.” His governing by sudden Executive Orders has already alienated us from friends and may perhaps bring us other “friends” that we may not need. As had been said during the campaign, he is unfit to be president. He is the one who “pushes the button.” His defense is to hush and discredit whatever media attempts may expose his faults and weaknesses, even when the constitutionality of a free press represents the basis of our democracy.
We do not know where to turn for assistance, although some courts are beginning to help. Interesting times indeed.