Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have had dreadful impact upon millions. There are those, like No. 45, who believe that there has been an appropriate response to those affected. Others believe that his response to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands has been tepid and measured more critically than mainland relief. The truth of this informs us who No. 45 considers “real Americans.”
It’s been said that past actions are the best indicators of character, temperament, and future behavior. If that is fact, the past animus of No. 45 toward people of color would end the discussion. We could say with some level of confidence that, to No. 45, people of color are not top-tier
I know it would not be fair to judge him solely on past actions. People can change. But after these disasters, his tone and subtleties have indicated a lack of belief in the unanimity and equality of our citizens.
When we objectively compare the relief response to Harvey and Maria, we know that discrimination HAS occurred. Our only challenge is determining why No. 45 and his cronies would decry racial/ethnic animus.
Logic informs us that importance is assessed by the attention received. After Harvey, No. 45 took only four days for his first visit to Texas. Six days later, he visited again. In contrast, it took him two weeks to visit Puerto Rico. Initial video from the Virgin Islands depicted damage on par with Puerto Rico, yet I’ve not heard of an official administration visit. Just call this one “Conflicted Priorities.”
‘Out of whack’
When No. 45 visited Texas, he promised his unconditional long-term support to those affected by Harvey. Only a few days later, his vice president echoed the same sentiment/promise of support for a resolution that could be measured in years.
Yet, when No. 45 visited, Puerto Rico he famously stated, “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you threw our budget a little out of whack.” Rather than a focus on the 3.5 million Americans on the island who were, and still mostly remain, without shelter, power, and lacking fresh water and food, he expressed his real concern.
Although we’ve been admonished by No. 45 to consider any news not sourced by Fox or Breitbart to be fake, I have trust in reports that, nearly two months after Harvey devastated Texas, FEMA still maintains a strong presence there. This has also been confirmed to me by family in the region.
Conversely, in a recent tweet, No. 45 states, “…We cannot keep FEMA, the Military and the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!.” I still hear little or no reference to the Virgin Islands from No. 45! Call that “Blatant Indifference!”
From tossing paper towels like bones to animals, to blowing off fervent appeals for more aggressive relief from San Juan’s mayor, to threatening to add the cost of relief to Puerto Rico’s existing debt, No. 45 has made clear that race/ethnicity is the main distinction he uses to differentiate between “real Americans” and, I guess, “fake Americans.”
While our ability to confront this may be limited, all of us must RESIST No. 45 in every way, every day!
Dr. E. Faye Williams is national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Contact her via www.nationalcongressbw.org.