By Kassel Franco Garibay
Matthew Yglesias from Vox wrote an on-point article about what Puerto Rico means in the context of a Trump administration. Yglesias’ message is concise, strong and utterly terrifying: a real crisis has risen, and the current President of the United States is unable to handle it.
Hurricane Maria left quite a lot of devastation in its wake. It knocked out the power of the entire island, it destroyed homes and hospitals, it killed over 30 people and it proved what we already knew: Donald Trump cannot handle the presidency. At this very moment, 95 percent of the island remains without power and the entire community is scrambling to get what they need in order to survive the difficult months to come. Donald Trump has not responded accordingly to this national crisis, as Puerto Rico is still a part of the United States, though it has not been treated like such. While it is true that only 46 percent of the United States population is aware of the fact that Puerto Ricans are also U.S. citizens, the President should be aware of this fact and respond to a national crisis accordingly.
Instead, he handled it like we all feared he would: he insulted some women and threw some paper towels.
While Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital, has been working tirelessly to locate missing people and help her community survive the catastrophe thrust upon them, Trump has been golfing and tweeting… in that exact order of importance. Not only that, but he also disrespected Yulín Cruz with his tweets rather than doing anything to aid Puerto Rico himself. His twitter childishness, especially in this time of crisis, is beyond inappropriate and indeed abhorrent. Puerto Rico is just as much of Trump’s responsibility as is Florida, Texas and every other state in the country. They are part of our nation and deserve the same attention and respect, not to be ridiculed for a disaster that they had no way to control or escape from. He has treated this natural disaster as if it was something that the people of Puerto Rico caused, rather than the uncontrollable force of nature that it was.
When Trump said that the people in Puerto Rico want everything to be done for them, he was showing the exact same set of values that he showed when he rescinded DACA. His “America First” mission does not in any way include people outside of the continental U.S., much less brown people. He definitely does not have any consideration for those Americans that have spent most of their lives in this country but just happen to lack the adequate paperwork. Trump is not helping the citizens that he is supposed to support and protect when he signed up to be president.
In conclusion: Donald Trump is bad at his job, but that does not mean that we get a pass at being bad at ours. It is our responsibility to step up, and show solidarity with Puerto Rico and all the other communities in crisis because of the current administration.
Kassel is a sophomore Women & Gender Studies and International Relations double major with a minor in Latin American Studies.