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The Lookout | October 19, 2018

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Puerto Rico needs compassion

Puerto Rico needs compassion
hookl
  • On October 6, 2017

Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm, struck the island territory of Puerto Rico on Sept. 20. The hurricane left the people of Puerto Rico with no power and devastated cities.

On the morning of Sept. 28, Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, tweeted, to Governor Ricardo Rossello and President Donald Trump: “At @ricardorossello request, @POTUS has authorized the Jones Act be waived for Puerto Rico. It will go into effect immediately.”

The Jones Act prevents the U.S. from transporting commerce between states, by water, on ships not manned and owned by the United States.

The Lookout staff feels that President Trump waited too long to respond to the disaster aftermath. He even made remarks showing how little sympathy he has for the people of Puerto Rico; implying that a disaster like this was bound to happen to Puerto Rico and that we shouldn’t be surprised.

After Hurricane Katrina, nobody blamed New Orleans or thought the people of that city deserved it, just because the entire city is in a geographical bowl.

Just because Puerto Rico is in the middle of the ocean does not mean we can blame the disaster on people who choose to live there.

The continued distasteful and disgraceful actions of Mr. 45 have made mountains out of molehills, and drama where there was none. It seems like things that would have been no-brainers for previous presidents have required every bit of brainpower that Trump can muster.

If the Trump administration was immediately willing to suspend the Jones Act for Texas and Florida after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, then it should have had no qualms about doing the same for Puerto Rico.

Our honorary 51st state needed our help and the White House dragged its feet. Though the Jones Act was suspended on Sept. 28, it was set to go back into effect just 10 days later. There is the option of an extension, but who knows if that will happen.

The Lookout staff sends its heart out to the people of Puerto Rico and hopes that the necessary aid will arrive to keep survivors alive and healthy. The U.S. may not be able to protect the whole world, but we had better take care of our own.

For more on the Jones Act, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_Marine_Act_of_1920. And for more about Hurricane Maria visit http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/28/politics/puerto-rico-governor-white-house-jones-act-waiver/index.html

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