Question: Is it safe to go to Puerto Rico right now?
Okay, we’re done here. Everybody, have a nice day.
All right, fine. We’ll dig in a little more than that.
Puerto Rico started dominating headlines last September after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island. Utility infrastructures were destroyed, countless lives were lost, and the US government stumbled in their efforts to help tax-paying Americans post-calamity. As weeks turned to months, things got grim. Power and water remained elusive for huge swaths of the island. Poverty skyrocketed and crime rates spiked.
Then, the story faded from the mainstream media, there were — as so often happens — new traumas to read about. Most mainlanders collectively moved on. From time to time, we’d hear that “x percent of the island is still without electricity or water” in a tweet, but that’s about it.
The strange thing is, never has there been a disaster where you can support people in peril so effectively, simply with your tourism dollar. Puerto Rico should have led off every summer travel hot list and vacation guide. It’s a choice that opens the door to incredible experiences, puts America first, and aides a community that’s all too often marginalized. There’s something for all sides of the partisan divide.