America, when will you do a Puerto Rico?
Smaller nations teach America a lesson in people power.
There is a cartoon making the rounds which shows the Statue of Liberty leaning over a map of Puerto Rico, the island lit up by fireworks and the MonoEstrellada proudly waving. An elephant, a donkey and a fat Wall Street banker hold on tight to Lady Liberty’s skirts and look confused and scared. As she peers down at the island in the middle of an ocean, this symbol of America cries: “Oh, so this is what Democracy looks like?”
Why? Because Puerto Rico, the oldest colony in the world, taught a lesson about the power of protest that has gone global: how to peacefully oust a corrupt and incompetent head of state with pots and pans, music and a mass movement of the people.
Thousands took to the streets in protest day after day demanding that the then Governor Ricardo Rosselló resign. Puerto Ricans forced out Rosselló and his band of corrupt merry men and brought about a dramatic shift in the way politics has been played on the island for decades. And, in doing so, changed its history forever.
As if in a Tale of Two Colonies and their struggle for freedom, Hong Kong soon followed suit in the Summer of Protest. Massive demonstrations protests brought Hong Kong International Airport to a stand still, with the citizens of this quasi-Chinese colony calling for the resignation of Chief Executive Lam and independence from the mainland.
What do Puerto Rico and Hong Kong have in common - beyond a humiliating colonial status? A massive, unified mobilization of people from all walks of life with a searing clarity of purpose and demands for a new leadership.
This leaves our Lady Freedom with just one question: When will America have the guts to do a Puerto Rico? Or maybe even a Hong Kong?
Because up to now, even in the face of Trump daily giving the finger to Lady Liberty and all that she stands for, and his egregious personal conduct, the American people have cowered and acquiesced.
The voices of Trump’s critics on the street have yet to reach the White House. Let’s bring in the Puerto Ricans, with their music, the chants - Somos más y no tenemos miedo (We are more and we are not afraid) - and the pots and pans. A cacerolazo limpio.
Puerto Ricans know how to do it and they will - come election time. They will have Trump dancing to Bad Bunny and Residente - Afilando Cuchillos. Sharpening Knives. The power, as they say in San Juan and Hong Kong, is in the streets.
America - what are you waiting for?