Photograph from NY Daily News
Puerto Rico is Spanish for “rich port,” as in, the port of big money, baby! $$$
Now that I have your attention, Puerto Ricans are Americans. Puerto Ricans are Americans. Puerto Ricans are Americans. Puerto Ricans are Americans. Puerto Ricans are Americans. Puerto Ricans are Americans. Puerto Ricans are Americans.
Aside from the fact that Puerto Rico should be a state (alongside Washington, D.C., Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), its citizens are us. Americans. They aren’t even the immigrants that terrorize your toddleresque view of tribalism. They are us. Americans.
Citizenship aside, they are humans. That should be all you need to know.
But let me return to language you understand. Imagine a golf course, just a beautiful golf course. Gorgeous. Just unbelievable greens. Rolling fairways. Tee boxes from your dreams. Imagine that golf course gets destroyed. I don’t even care by what. Doesn’t matter for this story. It gets completely wiped out. You can’t tell a tee box from the clubhouse. Now, for a loose analogy, imagine that this course is maintained by the wealthiest golf course developer in the history of the game of golf. The richest one ever. EVER. In history! How would you, a regular at this course, feel if that guy refused to help the golf course? It takes him a week to respond. The greens haven’t been mowed in a week. A week! You’d probably be pretty upset, right?
It’s already painfully apparent that you lack any form of empathy that’s empty of dollars, so I can’t imagine you will make the conceptual leap from golf course to human beings. But Mr. Trump, people are going to die if they don’t get more medicine, food, and water as soon as humanly possible. I’ll continue trying to speak your language (though it feels inhumane—I just tried to help you feel empathy by relating people to a golf course for God’s sake): These aren’t just people that will die; these are Americans that will die.
It is, frankly, hard to make a place great “again” if its people are dead.
These are citizens of the richest country in the history of the human race, and in the six days following the devastation, the U.S. federal government deployed a total of three Navy ships to help. Three. Americans will die without potable water and food. The agriculture on the island was destroyed. Puerto Ricans need all food shipped in now. We can do that. You can make it happen.
But to do that you will have to understand that brown people are Americans too, even when they lack representation in Congress.
No, it’s not easy to transport and distribute goods to a destroyed land, but waiting a week to react is simply inhumane. Good lord, Mr. Trump, even Doctor Doom has more complicated motivations than you. Even the most straightforward villain in comics would have helped these people more quickly if for no other reason than to play the hero role merely for the adulation that comes with it. Yes, the island is in the middle of a “very big ocean.” The rest of us did our fifth-grade homework and already knew that, but most of us also know that brown skin does not make someone less than human.
I’m done trying to appeal to the scared toddler inside you. Send more medicine, food, and water. Pretend they’re members of Mar-a-Lago if you have to. Just get it done.