When your cousin Hermine came to visit, I was sitting on my porch and watched how she snapped large branches from our pine trees with her 40mph winds. I wondered to myself what twice the wind speed would do? Little did I know at the time that only a few weeks later much of the East Coast got a taste of that and then some. Your visit did not come unannounced and I kept my eye on you.

The recipe of how to ruin a great country starts with a political system that is broken and divided into two fractions that seem unable to produce any results for the people who elected them.

Unfortunately, that is happening in a time when decisive actions are crucial for the well-being of the U.S. and when the world needs our leadership to create a sustainable planet.

More than 10,000 athletes from 206 countries gathered for the Summer Olympics in Rio to compete in 41 sports, and the world was watching. I’m using this global event as a mirror, curious about the image its sends back to us. Here is what I observed:

Rio got it done. If you believed any of the negative hype leading up to Rio 2016, you would have bet that the current state of affairs in Brazil would throw this event into complete chaos. But not so much.

We are ONE species inhabiting one planet.

Globalization made it true that everybody and everything is connected in some ways, and nothing is going to put this genie back in the bottle. Whether we like it or not, trade, the internet, multinational corporations, people and ideas moving across all borders are simply forces that cannot be contained with walls or increased security measures.

marcofrey1Since 1982, depending how you define them, there have been at least 81 public mass shootings across the country.1

What’s more, this style of shooting, perpetrated by an individual rather than a gang, political group, or criminal organization is largely American. From 1966 to 2012, a third of the world’s mass shootings took place here. What’s difficult to swallow is how random they seem, the motives blurry, and the shooter somewhat ordinary. That’s when you become jaded. But the deadliest mass shooting in the US at the Orlando gay nightclub on June 12 brought a sharp new pain to our hearts — and created a lot of incoherent noise.

marc jun216It is a reality that Hilton Head Island and Bluffton are socially and economically joined at the hip. To get a feel for just how much the two towns are connected, just stand at the bridge at any time day or night and watch the traffic rush by.

It is also a reality that healthy local economies depend on updated infrastructures, which includes the transportation system. Since there is no real viable public transportation in the Lowcountry, roadways remain the only way to get from place A to place B.

SAVANNAH – HARDEEVILLE - BLUFFTON/HILTON HEAD ISLAND - BEAUFORT

25 years ago, when I predicted that the Savannah, Beaufort and Hilton Head Island triangle would grow into a cohesive population and commerce center, most people looked at me with disbelief.

This was at a time when the Savannah airport was a one-story terminal with only a handful of flights arriving and most things were still done by hand. (SAV is currently offering direct flights to 13 different cities). Driving to the island was via a twolane winding road covered with a canopy of trees. Somewhere on the right there was Bluffton, which was a small, quaint little town that mostly went unnoticed.

PROMISES, PROMISES, PROMISES… We heard them all: Affordable healthcare for all, free community college, a 1,900-mile-long wall on the southern border, $15 minimum wage, deporting 11 million hard-working Latinos, strengthening our nuclear and non-nuclear military capabilities, carpet bombing ISIS, etc.

It never fails to amaze me how many things are being promised by presidential hopefuls without telling us exactly how we are going to pay for all of it. If you believe “The Donald,” Mexico will at least pay for the wall (which of course is not going to happen), and if you are feeling “The Bern,” the 1 percent will pay for most of it — never mind that his proposed tax reforms will not pass unless Congress shifts to a Democratic majority.

marco freyA quick scroll through my Facebook feed reveals the inevitable Bernie Sanders ad, my friend posts, “Maybe Canada should be president of the U.S.,” and my Brooklyn neighbors sharing the latest addition to their family, a rescue dog they’re naming “Ladies and Gentleman.” Have no doubt, we’re talking about my very own artsy, liberal Facebook feed. If you’re like me, you’ve pruned yours of caustic friends, chatter boxes and broken records. Instead, you’ve groomed your feed to show posts you care about, that share your interests, or highlight news that confirms what you already believe. It’s your personal online gated community.

IF THE U.S. WANTS TO LEAD THE WORLD, WE FIRST NEED TO ELECT A VISIONARY TO LEAD OUR OWN COUNTRY.

Our current global system is in need of a major revision. The focus needs to be on building sustainable economic environments all around the world rather than relying on growth at all cost driven by shortterm greed. The global playing field is not only changing around us, it is changing at an accelerating rate.