America’s downward spiral

The U.S. response to crises is an indicator that its status as a world leader is tenuous

The author, a Paradise resident, is a wildlife biologist with 50 years of field experience.

Recent events have made me very ashamed to call myself an American. And I say that because friends in other countries (Canada and Australia) are now writing me and inquiring as to “what in hell is going on there?”

As a protectorate of 3.5 million American citizens (yes, I realize they are of dark-skinned origin), Puerto Rico was virtually destroyed by Hurricane Maria—no water, no power, no food and no contact with the outside world, and little hope of anything being restored in the near future.

Yet, during this crisis, President Trump’s focus was whether professional football players should be allowed to kneel during the national anthem; his continuation of “I’m rubber, you’re glue” with the unstable dictator of a minor nation (who, unfortunately, has nuclear weapons); and whether or not to eliminate the Affordable Care Act (for strictly personal reasons).

Meanwhile, Trump’s ultra-right supporters have no inkling of the actual effects of any of Trump’s decisions and cabinet appointments. The folks I’m referring to are the citizens of this county who feel they have been denied something they, as Americans, are deserving of but can’t quite figure out just what that is. Still, these people apparently think they may be just a few Senate and House votes away from getting it.

Then, there are the saber-rattlers who actually believe a nuclear war can be isolated on the Korean peninsula and that the only lives lost would be those of Asians, not pure white Americans.

Of course, the blame for Puerto Rico’s condition has been laid on past administrations (partially correct, as the island has been ignored for many years), but I’m baffled that the current White House couldn’t even swiftly make the decision to send the Naval hospital ships there to try to save lives.

Great civilizations historically last 250 to 300 years. We’re well on our way to proving that axiom.