Image: Erika P. Rodriguez/New York Times

Where Are “Thoughts and Prayers” For Puerto Rico?

When horrific events transpire both at home and abroad, we are usually inundated with generic responses from world leaders who join together to release “thoughts and prayers” as if it makes anything better.

The world has always been an epic mess. I know this because way before social media reared its ugly head, I was a curious preteen, who thought it was a big deal to camp out at my parents’ bedroom, while scouring newsmagazines for updates on notable events that would take decades later to comprehend.

Now we get our briefings in real time, with scrolls and clicks that lead to unvetted information that hold even more value than the precious truth.

The burning landscapes of Australia, the flooding and lethal landslides of Jakarta, shocking volcanic eruptions, and the heated winter days that present summer temps, merely days after it was barely 30 degrees. are all combined elements that signal end of days.

As I battle the awful allergy attack from these debilitating weather pattens, I feel like a scumbag when I consider the tragic plight of humans, who are stuck in a deathly fragmented territory that has been rocked by two terrifically bad earthquakes, in back-to-back attacks.

Nobody is talking about Puerto Rico.

In fact watching the morning news shows is a hard slap in the face, due to the lack of much-needed coverage across the board.

The main focus rests mostly on embattled Iran, and all the president’s men, duly assembled for the purpose of validating fabrications about “imminent attacks” on “four American embassies.”

Nobody can prove beyond a doubt that this wasn’t concocted by Trump’s desire to be a war president, in the middle of his own impeachment trial.

And then there’s the royal family crisis, that certainly deserves to be a topic of conversation because of how the terrorizing of Meghan Markle exposes Britain’s openly vicious racism.

But even I have to admit my utter disappointment at how this has overtaken our ability to prioritize accordingly, especially when human lives are at stake.

Yes, I’ve had a lot to say about the royal mess of a family, and the unfair treatment of its newest member, but I also had more to share about the nightmare of Puerto Rico’s urgent predicament in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

The island was dangerously destabilized due to destroyed infrastructure, stemming from the mammoth storm that killed almost 3,000 people.

Trump had the prime opportunity to demonstrate his presidential traits by rising to the occasion as a commendable Commander-in-Chief. He was supposed to ensure that the appropriate government agencies were positioned to deliver resources and manpower. He was tasked with guaranteeing the delegation of aid money, that would sufficiently cover the costs of reconstruction.

Unfortunately the U.S. government replicated the botched response to Hurricane Katrina after it devastated New Orleans in 2005. That disastrous outing will forever stand as the blotted stain on the legacy of George W. Bush. He disgustingly gave the world a full view of how Black people are abused and grossly neglected by the deadliness of white supremacy.

Donald Trump turned his presidential visit to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria did its worst, into a comedic sketch that included a game of paper towel tossing, and a round of jokes that were aimed at comparing death counts of other natural disasters, and pompous reminders of outstanding debts.

There was also Twitter spats between Trump and mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, as the president was adamant about not wanting to provide further financial assistance because of the corruption within Puerto Rico’s corridors of power.

Not only was Trump unwilling to be empathetic to the woes of innocent families, the elderly and sick, who were accommodating a woefully threatening climate, that lacked basic amenities for survival, but there was the brutal shaming of an island of Brown people, who weren’t being regarded as Americans.

The same shit is happening now.

The first earthquake that hit Puerto Rico almost a week ago, had a magnitude of 6.4, and caused substantial damage as the biggest to rattle the already ailing island in a century. Aftershocks struck the territory on Saturday with a registered magnitude of 5.4, and has left almost 60,000 residents in the dark with no access to power.

Thousands of people have brought their beds out to the streets because of crushed homes, or the fear that they could suffer that fate, and so it’s safer to be outside or in designated shelters.

Meanwhile Trump, who spent a year touting the lies of how he sent $92 billion in aid after Hurricane Maria, when in fact Congress allocated half of that amount and only a fraction of it was actually sent to Puerto Rico, has remained loudly silent in the wake of this national emergency.

His Twitter feed is littered with jargon about Iran’s protests and how he supports the efforts of the courageous citizens who demand answers after the “accidental” downing of an Ukrainian jet liner, carrying mostly Iranians, who had flown to their home country to visit relatives.

But there has been no acknowledgment by the Trump administration about the back-to-back earthquakes that further crippled a U.S. territory that is in dire need of governmental assistance.

Ivanka Trump, the so-called senior adviser to the president has mentioned nothing about the tragedy unfolding in Puerto Rico, and instead is following her father’s rulebook of echoing his sentiments about Iran, with the addition of a birthday greeting for her creepy husband, Jared Kushner.

Again, when the media’s obsession with Trump overwhelms the news coverage, he wins every time.

Bet you had no idea, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t only immersed in the impeachment chaos, but she’s also ordering the Trump administration to release $18 billion in funds for Puerto Rico, which is being unlawfully held, despite the obvious ramifications of this ill-fated decision.

Since the two earthquakes, and aftershocks, there’s been one reported casualty with about 2,000 residents now homeless. And the collapse of a major power plant signals a very long road to recovery for an island that has been cursed with an avalanche of bad luck.

And yet we barely hear anything about what has befallen Puerto Rico.

Streams of soundbites get trampled by world affairs, and the rantings of an egomaniacal brute, who dismisses the relevance of the island of his discontent.

Trump won’t even send those “thoughts and prayers” as the mandated recognition of what he should be taking seriously, and with the same level of concern that he would be showcasing if Palm Beach, Florida suffered the same emergency.

When it comes to the expendability of Black and Brown populations, we can count on the historically foul response from White presidents, who purpose their administrations to follow the deadliness of White supremacy.

And thanks to the traitorous complicity of the media, the coverage of news items that deserve the hour-long investigative reporting, are now regulated to the mood swings of a empowered man-baby, whose award-wining performances leaves no time for the active issues that are coded for our extinction.

It’s disgraceful and undeniably criminal, that the Trump administration is being allowed to withhold aid to Puerto Rico, and it’s equally dastardly that there has not been nearly enough push back from lawmakers or the media-at-large.

Thoughts and prayers tend to rub a lot of us the wrong way, but this time, I would welcome the sentiment on behalf of an island of brown-skinned Americans, who shouldn’t be abandoned for the sin of not being white or rich enough for the humane treatment that we were all born to receive as global citizens.

The United Nations may have to look into this matter of an American president willfully terrorizing his own without issue.

In the meantime, we have to talk about what’s happening in Puerto Rico with the same gusto that we give other less or equally dangerous matters that somehow gain more attention based on viability.

Australia is burning, but Puerto Rico is disappearing and we’re looking far above it.


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