Last week, President Trump made a trip to Puerto Rico to visit the victims of Hurricane Maria. Just like many people, I was waiting to see how this trip would go and hoping that, for once, there would be something positive for the media to report about the president of the United States. However, the first video I saw of Donald Trump in Puerto Rico was him tossing out rolls of paper towels to people who had come to see him. It took me a while to accept the fact that the president of the United States was actually tossing out supplies to humans who had just been faced with a devastating disaster . Even before Trump visited, the mayor of Puerto Rico had to make a plea to make him see how serious and urgent the issue in Puerto Rico was. Not only did Trump toss out paper towels, but as he departed, he told the people of Puerto Rico to just enjoy themselves. Now, I was wondering, how do you enjoy yourself when you have no basic sanitary supplies, when the search for clean water is real, when there is no power and gas and everything you once had is now history?
At this stage, I don’t know if it’s just Trump’s bad choice of words, or if he actually means what he says. During his visit, Trump thought it right to bring up Puerto Rico’s debt problem, which, although it’s an issue, should not have been talked about to people who are looking for their next warm meals and hoping to find the help they need.
Two weeks ago, Trump said to African leaders at the United Nations conference, “Many of my friends go to your countries to become rich.” To some people, this was just a harmless statement. To the African leaders there, it was more of an awkward speech. Now many people like myself are trying to figure out who these “friends” are and we might never know. These friends might be the huge oil companies that come to many Nigerian communities and drill out the oil while leaving the communities with nothing but dead lands, polluted water, and oil spills. His friends might be the companies that get resources that have been mined by child laborers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Like I said, we might never know who they are, but one thing we know for sure is that they are getting money from the continent of Africa. If you know the history of Africa and the western world, you will know that it’s more of a commensalistic relationship, with the West benefitting off the resources from the continent of Africa.
Whether it’s his speech, his tweets, or his actions, Trump so far has shown himself to be a really interesting president and this has affected the perspectives of many Americans who have found themselves stuck with him. I have heard many Americans say “he is not my president.” Unfortunately, he is, and his actions everyday remind people of that. Many Americans have stated, “I will be moving to Canada if Trump becomes president.” Well he is president and many Americans are not in Canada because its not easy to just pack and move to another country.
Maybe it’s time for America to stop making everything political. In Puerto Rico, no one was affected based on their political beliefs and Trump did not throw out tissues based on political affiliations. Everyone, at a particular point in time, becomes equal and that is the common ground we all have to find in order to move forward. Till America and other countries of the world find humanity as a common ground, confusion and separation will continue to be the order of the day.