A New Colonization Paradigm: A Sick Leader Turns His Back On Puerto Rico

Tensions between the colonizer and colonized are always complicated by the main binary issues of assimilation and revolution, both of which are embedded in Puerto Rico’s history.

What is never complicated, however, is that the colonizing country, which in this case is the United States, exploits and uses its colony in whatever means it employs without internal scrutiny or major domestic backlash. The Others in the colonized country, dehumanized by the abusive parent, are exploited and used for profit or material resources or military advantage. It’s the long story of Western hubris and violence stretching back to The Age of Discovery and the genocidal murderer Christopher Columbus, who “discovered” Puerto Rico as if it didn’t exist before he arrived.

But what is peculiarly different this time in the immoral historical narrative of Western colonization of indigenous people is that the leader of the colonizing country—Donald Trump—is a sociopathic, narcissistic liar in an volatile postmodern age in which the naive among us believe we’ve become a post-racial culture. This is in despite of the public demonstrations of white supremacy supported by the authoritarian leader, who sees in his evil and sick nature “both sides” of bigotry and equality. Trump, of course, is not the first lying, narcissistic tryant in history nor will he be the last, but the injury is two-fold. Trump lies away his racism in self-congratulatory tweets creating discombobulation even as he denigrates people of color and mixed ancestry facing an acute moment of survival after a once-in-a-lifetime damaging hurricane intensified by global warming, which is denied by the conquerers.

For Trump, as we analyze his Twitter rhetoric, it’s about how well white people perceive he’s responding to Puerto Rico’s collapse after Hurricane Maria, which, as we all know in reality, has been an expression of both the continuing indifference of the colonizer and the delusional ravings of someone with a dangerous personality disorder. In short, Trump’s failure to act is, in itself, an act of violence, a weapon, leading to the widespread suffering of innocent people.

But I believe it also shows the incompetence of the Trump regime in new unfolded ways. We’ve seen one failure after another under the racist-in-chief’s tyranny—the support for the immoral health care proposal, his expression of support for neo-Nazis, the endless lies—but to allow millions of American citizens to face death without hope, without a massive mobilization effort even while criticizing The Other as lazy and inept is a spectacular, watershed moment for the world in the twenty-first century. This would have been the common procedure in the eighteenth- and nineteenthe-centuries, even the twentieth century, but today its reappearance is horrifically appalling.

It also reflects on the refugee crisis in Europe as escaping Syrians and others try to find safe havens. It shows us that people of color throughout the world remain colonized both physically and psychologically. Any psychological dissection of Trump or one of his supporters would obviously show the Western hegemonic pattern remains a part of the sick psyche.

Here is that pattern:

The Other: Lazy, dirty, careless, unstable, oversexed, incapable of learning.

The Colonizer: Parental, pious, steadfast, in control, strong.

The United States claimed the island in 1898 while fighting the Spanish-American war. While the majority of Puerto Ricans identify as white, a plethora of residents there have a mixed racial background because of their native Amerindian heritage, colonization by the Spanish and then later by the United States, and the influence of ethnic Africans brought to the island as both free people and slaves. It’s a melting pot of diversity and beauty, which is perhaps beyond the comprehension of Trump or at least beyond his emotional embrace.

What Trump contributes to the post-empire colonization discourse is personal affront, lies and egomania, or obvious mental illness in a so-called enlightened culture known for its intellectual discourse on psychological stratification, data and diagnosis. Intellectuals know that Tump is seriously mentally ill, and he has—perhaps unintentionally—normalized the collective mental illness of those who voted for him.

Trump’s Puerto Rico Tweets Express His Self Absorption

In the following tweets, Trump lashes out at The Other. Following the colonizer/colonized narrative, he claims that people in Puerto Rico won’t work in rescue efforts, inferring they’re lazy. He criticizes “such poor leadership ability,” inferring only a white- and male-led juggernaut—the Trump regime in its essence—can get the job done.

This is then followed by consistently paranoid tweets about the “amazing” job the colonizer is doing while lashing out defensively against news agencies reporting the facts on the ground and jabbing wildly at his political opponents. Trump doesn’t provide evidence for any of his claims because he can’t. By now, all of us know—even the base that adores him—that Trump lies both intuitively and deliberately. His lies are sometimes impulsive, sometimes strategic.

There has been no universal recognition that the Trump regime’s efforts in Puerto Rico can be described as “amazing work.” In fact, as the people of Puerto Rico suffered, Trump was playing golf.

Sick People Elect Sick Leaders

The hypothesis now must be that Trump’s attack on the people of Puerto Rico reflects a deep psychological sickness in the U.S. population, more than 60 million of whom enabled a racist, sexist authoritarian to, with his impulsive, petulant whims, destroy lives and democratic norms. I suspect the evidence to only grow that Trump and his supporters have rejected truth by decentering it, and rejected constitutional precepts and democracy because of a collective mental breakdown rather than an specific ideology.

The story that Puerto Rico will go down as Trump’s Katrina is cliched news parlance—expect to hear the refrain for weeks on end—but that’s a very small part of it.

What we’re witnessing is a major psychological breakdown or a splinter into delusion among a sizable segment of the United States population, some of whom hold leadership positions throughout the country.

The tragedy of it is that those millions of people who actually lament the lack of a major recovery effort in Puerto Rico have little resources to help. It’s impossible for now to do anything unless you can travel to the island with supplies or help get money to people or help individual people in other ways.

The price we’ve already paid for Trump is our strong standing in the world at least potentially for a generation, but it’s only going to get worse unless he’s legally removed from office as soon as possible. A culture that would elect such a person president doesn’t actually deserve respect. If you didn’t vote for Trump yet you remain silent—as so many people are doing—then your complicity is part of the sickness as well.

There is no easy way out of the Trump spiral. All the possible scenarios are extremely bad for this country. Any rational person in the world paying attention knows that. We’re as doomed as much as the U.S. Citizens in Puerto Rico, which will now be exploited again by venture capitalists in the rebuilding efforts.

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