“La hija del mar y el sol,” (“the daughter of the sea and the sun”).
The final lyrics of Puerto Rico’s anthem nod to the Caribbean island’s indigenous Taino history and its legacy of colonial resistance, but they also proudly refer to the island as a female.
Given this, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the president, a man who has bragged about sexually assaulting women, took to Twitter to bash the island and her people—our people—who are still reeling from the havoc brought on by Hurricane Maria.
“They want everything to be done for them,” Trump tweeted from his country club in New Jersey. He also took a shot at San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, accusing her, of all things, “poor leadership” for not being “able to get their workers to help.”
The statement, like many of the president’s Twitter rants, reeked of entitlement with not so subtle undertones of racism.
In 140 characters the president essentially called Puerto Ricans—who are American Citizens literally struggling to stay alive—lazy. As per usual the irony of leveling such an accusation was lost on the president.
When hurricanes Harvey and Irma ravaged Houston and Louisiana, respectively, the president didn’t accuse the predominantly White residents of those states as always wanting handouts. Yet he felt the it necessary to do that with the citizens of Puerto Rico—an island that had lost nearly all electricity, that had much of its infrastructure devastated, and that saw patients in Intensive Care Unit die due to failure to provide adequate care for those most in need.
But the island and her people, despite the president’s tweets, rose up amid the debris—and are continuing to do so. San Juan’s mayor waded through chest-high waters looking for survivors. Citizens, using whatever tools they had, cleared what remained of roads. People on the American mainland have rallied and collected materials such as bottled water and diapers, which are on their way to the island at this very moment.
That’s leadership. That’s Fuerza. That’s the resiliency of “La hija del mar y el sol.”