It’s no secret that Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have been devastated by Hurricane Maria. What is unknown is if anyone in federal leadership cares or is doing anything about it. If nothing else, being a territory should bring aid in time of crisis.
We know the President virtually does not care. Between his ravings on other topics, he barely had time to spare a tweet for Puerto Rico. He did have time to feed red meat to a all-white hard-right crowd in Alabama by attacking African-American NFL players.
In general, I try not to rush to “go there” because there enough hate in the world without suspecting it in ambiguous situations. But Donald Trump has enough of a record that it seems more than fair to ask if he might express more than an iota of interest if these were not overwhelmingly Latino and Black territories?
Fortunately, the federal bureaucracy is professional and carries on its key tasks despite the absence of leadership from the top. But FEMA is stretched very thin after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma wrecked terrible damage in Florida and Texas.
This is a humanitarian disaster unfolding on American soil and we need to demand more action. The federal government needs to devote more resources now. Congress needs to expand the disaster relief package so there is money to rebuild power and water systems now.
For that matter, our good friends among the small island nations of the Caribbean also deserve our help. In tiny Dominica, which has always stood with us in when needed, even the Prime Minister lost the roof on his home.
Helping is not just the neighborly thing to do by the far larger and wealthier country, it is also smart strategic policy to further bind the ties between us and these already friendly countries, including Antigua and Barbuda as well as Dominica.
We remain the richest and best resourced country in the world. We can do it and we should. Frankly, it all seems so obvious that I remain surprised that I feel the need to write it. Everyone from citizens to elected officials should be saying it.
If you want to aid relief efforts yourself, here are a few links to Go Fund me pages to make it a bit easier:
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Antigua and Barbuda
Support the efforts of the American Red Cross throughout the country at this link.