Image from UPI
In 1929, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote a beautiful song called, “Manhattan.” The chorus ran, in part, “We’ll have Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, too…” We know, from the various histories and biographies of yourself that you do have a peculiar affection for New York and its environs. If you hadn’t kept up with such things, the population of these three boroughs just happens to be about 3.5 million souls, a goodly number, and you are probably acquainted with many of them.
Roughly 1,700 miles south of New York City as the crow flies, there is a small island about the size of Connecticut that’s called Puerto Rico. I am certain you can find this place – you’ve been there once, recently, and Google Earth has excellent resources for refining your search. The population of the island is about 3.5 million souls, a goodly number, and like, the souls in the boroughs mentioned above, ARE ALL CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
And just in case it escaped your attention, in September 2017, a major hurricane, Hurricane Maria, which is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record in Dominica and Puerto Rico, devastated that island, now with a reported death toll of nearly 1,100 souls, and with hundreds more injured and ill, and thousands left without power, potable water or adequate medical assistance. Damages, to date, exceed $100 BILLION!
Supplies and aid have been sent, but they are not getting to where they’re most needed. This is not a failing of either the aid organizations nor, contrary to your opinion, of the Puerto Rican government. We have had nearly six months to help our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico, and, sir, we have failed them.
Mr. President, the failing is ON YOU for your lack of leadership and failure to act. I repeat it’s on YOU – you’re Commander-in-Chief. Get moving, sir; get the Marines into Puerto Rico to get things organized and moving. Send in Navy Seabees to help with infrastructure and Army transport helicopters and medics to deliver supplies and evacuate the sick. Waive the ‘Jones Act’ – which is a joke anyway – for at least 2 years, not just the 10 days you chose. In other words, sir, LEAD. These are AMERICANS; they are dying and will continue to do so. They have suffered mightily for nearly six months. They don’t deserve this.
The point is, sir, that if the equivalent disaster had occurred in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, you and the rest of the government would be literally falling all over yourselves to fix things, and would have started the effort on day one. In fact, Texas and Florida, the other states struck by hurricanes this past fall, received Federal help immediately, and are largely rebuilt now. This is shameful.
In the now-famous words of Joseph Welch to Sen. Joe McCarthy in the 1954 hearings, “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”