Actualizado: 23 abr 2020
By Alberto Equihua
A spectre is haunting Mexico — the spectre of unity.
It probably always has, without never really setting down. But now, in the time of the health crisis, brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the longing for national unity has become even stronger. Even more, when getting along with the administration of Mr. López Obrador hasn’t been easy with some sectors, like the business one.
A contraction this year and next too threatens Mexico, and together with the coronavirus crisis, they will leave a trail of deaths, unemployed, broken business and pain. Families, private and public organizations will have to some extent, to rearrange internally to accommodate the new conditions, we will meet afterwards. Naturally, facing these new challenges, will be on its own a heavy burden to bear. To continue on top of all that playing the old differences and offences may be for the time being really too much. Mexicans need not only a truce. But this could be an opportunity to start changing something fundamental. For after these rough times we Mexicans will have to help each other, if we want to successfully overcome all the loses and suffering, which this difficult time will have left us with. In other words. The current double crises could actually set Mexico in an interesting and promising new path. It could finally start propelling us towards a united and cooperative future. The longing for the needed unity for that has already broken in the public discussion, at least in two relevant sides. For Mr. President López Obrador and recently the organized business (CCE) have started to speak about unity. Naturally, now they arise questions like: what for a unity? How to unite?
These are fundamental questions and it is of paramount importance that those, who now start loudly talking about unity, have clear and direct answers to them and to other questions. Here we want to weigh in with some considerations for the matter. As already noted: What unity? It’s a pertinent question, because there are different ways people may be divided. Just to put it clear. There may be physical divisions, like mountains, rivers, oceans or even walls. Such objects split people. But separations my arise from ideas too. To unite trough physical barriers is probably just a matter of infrastructure or technology: bridges, tunnels, ships, airplanes, etc. Whereas uniting across ideas will probably probe to be more of a challenge. In the later case we have to influence minds and to change the way persons think.
In any case, when we set to unite people, we need a clear vision about how unity would look like. A vision of the pursued or at least desired unity. Only here, we have already enough for an ample discussion. Around what point or issue do we Mexicans really want to unite. For we do have a number of them. For example, just to mention a couple. Is it property? Or maybe consumption power? Or just something more ethereal like opportunities, national pride or sovereignty? We don’t need 10 beautiful, inspiring ideas. Just one would be the right number. One well defined point, around which we Mexicans can and are willing to unite. Let us take one. Maybe Mexicans could unite around the ideal of building a land, in which opportunities abound, and everyone can seize them. Or perhaps we prefer a society where a nice level of consumption is guaranteed for every single citizen, no matter what. Choosing a cause of unity like this is naturally already an enormous consensus effort in any society.
Along with the first question, we must consider the second one: who are going to be together in this cause? Who are supposed to be united? For sure, different causes will relate to different audiences, groups or sectors. So, questions one and two would actually have to be answered simultaneously. And of course, those who are going to unite must be there. Presence is the least sign of willingness that one can expect. If someone doesn’t show up, then there is too little to unite. It is also clear, that the more parties to be united, the more difficult to achieve unification will probably be. The more the reason to keep the cause simple and clear as possible. The case of pretending to encompass an entire society at once could be too ambitious. To the extent of making it unworkable. It may make more sense to work in the unit in stages, first with those with whom you have more closeness and affinity and move forward in this way, little by little with the following groups. The tactic of unification can be an issue in itself.
In a society wide case it could make more sense to launch unification initiatives between different audiences, even simultaneously, instead of endeavouring a one time, all purpose, all audience’s unity.
The third question which must be addressed moving towards some unity would be about what commitments those uniting themselves are ready to promise to their counterparts. This is the time to become deadly serious about the shared vision, cause and purposes. The cause is nice, no doubt about it. But it is going to cost some sacrifices. Nothing is going to happen, if the joining participants cannot believe two things: 1) what their counterparts promise is valuable enough in the context of the unity to be and 2) the promise will be played as originally stated. Up to this point, everything revolves in a communication space. The cause, who may take part in the unification effort, what each one is going to put to make everything work out nicely. Now comes the time to comply and see that everyone plays their part at least so good and fair as promised.
Leaving the communication sphere and walking on the actual field, the first step in the reality is to make visible all the resources that each one is ready to deploy, in order to play what everyone promised. They must have to be in place and time to be deployed as needed. In seeing that, the others can feel assured, that the commitments will be orderly fulfilled. Every and each party must be able to see the same in the other’s side.
A last warning note must be added. Uniting different parties requires trust. An ingredient, which is already blended in the discussion above. What it hasn’t yet being openly mentioned is that parties setting themselves to unite with someone else must have already a trustworthiness capital on their own. Every side. This capital is something that is accumulated over time, every time someone proves being trustworthy, because he does nothing less of what he has said, he would do. Many times, and during a long time. To say something about how much trustworthiness capital is required at the outset, before aiming for unity goes beyond the scope of this notes. But without doubt, it is something anybody pursuing unity will try to figure out, before letting themselves get involved in a quest for unity with someone else. So even without having really clarified this last point, it is best to always care for this trustworthiness capital, in case a time may come, unity with some other party is an important thing to seek for.
The questions explained above can be summarized in the following short list:
Clear vision about how unity would look like
Presence of those who are willing to unite
Unequivocal set of commitments (promises) of each one who is going to unite
Resources openly visible to others, which are ready to be deployed for keeping all promises made
A possession of a trustworthiness capital enough to inspire the confidence required to begin