Education, cooperation, unity necessary for progress, Former Mexican president says

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    Former Mexican President Vicente Fox addresses the public during a sold-out event at the Palo Alto High School Media Arts Center. Photo: Rachel Code

    “Leadership without compassion is destined to fail,” said former Mexican president Vicente Fox. “Like it happened with Hitler, like it’s going to happen to Trump.”

    Fox called for unity and stressed the power of motivated, educated citizens as he addressed a crowd in both English and Spanish in the Palo Alto High School Media Arts Center during a sold-out public event this afternoon.

    According to Fox, an intellectually diverse population is the cornerstone of a productive and powerful society. Fox believes that taking advantage of higher education opportunities will allow citizens to take charge in working for social improvement.

    “We should not go to school for one job or for one activity,” Fox said. “We should go to school to learn to think, to learn to decide, and to learn to be free.”

    Fox said in order to make a meaningful impact, one must do more than attend a good school.

    “We are in the knowledge economy,” said Fox. “The future is much more dependent on information. That’s the expected future. You cannot abandon school. You cannot think that being in high school, you have made it for the rest of your life. Not even Stanford, not even Harvard [is enough],” Fox said.

    Fox touched on President Trump’s administration and the impacts he expects it to have on relations between the United States and Mexico.

    “At the very end, my thinking is that he [Trump] will not affect a relationship that has been built over such a long time,” Fox said. “That cannot be destroyed. The bridges have been built a long time ago.”

    Fox restated his resentment for Trump’s plans to build a wall on the border of Mexico and the US. According to Fox, the money could be better invested into the American job market.

    “That wall, that f—— wall that we are not going to pay for, we Mexicans, that is going to cost you United States citizens 35 billion US dollars,” Fox said. “With 35 billion US dollars, you could create immediately 10 million US jobs with the further consequence of more and more jobs.”

    Fox reminded the audience that citizens hold the true power in society. 

    “We all have to be active in politics,” Fox said. “No president can hold your dreams. My political godfather used to say we should have as much society, as much community and as much citizenship as possible and the least government,” Fox said. “It is people that move nations, it is people with their everyday work, learning and decision making that build the world. It is not institutions.”

    He also touched on the issues of climate change, and the issue the American people will face with an administration that denies it’s existence, emphasizing that there is no absolute need for compromise, but rather it is necessary to pursue solutions that benefit both priorities of the United States. Fox highlighted the need for a Canadian pipeline; however, the construction of such a project should be done with the intent to protect the environment.

    “Today it is sustained and it is proven that you can do both. You can grow at a fast pace and still protect the environment,” Fox said.

    He addressed the topic of recent immigration policies and explained that Trump’s stance on blocking people from Mexico and other countries is an illogical one.

    “I don’t think to make America great again you have to close the door,” Fox said.

    He ended on a hopeful note, citing that believes the key to a better future lies in the people.

    “You’re going to be building the world,” Fox said. “It is not the church, not the nation. It is me and you, and you that are responsible to build a better world.”

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