The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion What if Western media covered Las Vegas the same way it covers foreign nations?

The racist, double-standard applied to the health and welfare of Puerto Ricans is shameful. , says Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah. (Video: Adriana Usero, Kate Woodsome/The Washington Post)
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(All of the people quoted in this satire are fictional. Except Tim Fischer. He is real and really did give the advice described below.)

This week international analysts are sounding the alarm on the increasing instability of the United States after an outbreak of gun violence, government corruption scandals and failure to provide basic services to citizens.

In the western American province of Nevada, nearly 60 people were killed and more than 500 others wounded when a gunman opened fire at a country music festival. The gunman, who killed himself, had 47 guns in his homes and hotel room, along with 50 pounds of explosives and 1,600 rounds of ammunition in his car.

“It’s mind-boggling that the United States refuses to deal with its gun violence problem,” said Jack Harrison, an Australian lawyer. “We managed to ban these type of deadly weapons. After dead children at Sandy Hook and murdered concertgoers in Las Vegas, Americans are showing the world they are willing to sacrifice their fellow citizens on the altar of some fuzzy idea of freedom.” Tim Fischer, the former deputy prime minister of Australia who helped implement changes to the nation’s gun laws, has even advised Australians against unnecessary travel to the violence-stricken former British colony.

Other nations have repeatedly offered to assist the United States with its problem of violent white male extremism, with little success. “The Americans are historically a very proud people and are reluctant to allow outside assistance to help combat their gun violence and domestic terrorism problem,” said James Charlotin, an oft-quoted Canadian expert in American political history and security affairs. “Culturally, they reserve the term “terrorist” for Muslims, despite the fact that white males have carried out over twice as many attacks as Muslims in recent years.” Charlotin mentioned that the Canadian government was worried that the violence and instability could spill over into peaceful, neighboring Canada. “We don’t want Canada’s white male population to be radicalized by what is going on across the border.”

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Leaders from Latin American countries initially proposed to convene a summit titled Countering Violent White Male Extremism Summit but have instead changed the title of the gathering to Countering American Lone Wolf-ism. “We have found in our research that white males prefer that term. We hope that Americans will be more receptive to the lone-wolf rebranding and will come,” one organizer said. However, American animal rights groups are protesting the rebranding efforts, charging that most real wolves are peaceful and don’t deserve the stigma of being associated with white male extremism.

Additionally, just nine months into his tenure, President Trump has come under heavy criticism for his regime’s slow response in providing water and lifesaving care to U.S. citizens in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands about two weeks after Hurricane Maria. The situation is so bad in Puerto Rico that international organizations such as Save the Children have been deployed to help the island recover. Meanwhile, Trump, a former reality television host, was shown throwing rolls of paper towels into a crowd of Puerto Ricans during a public event as if they were game-show prizes.

The failures of the U.S. response to Puerto Rico’s suffering may not be surprising. Despite the fact that Americans were jamming all summer to the No.1 hit Spanish-language song “Despacito” featuring Puerto Rican artist Daddy Yankee, nearly half of Americans don’t know that Puerto Ricans are American citizens.

“The United States has the most powerful military in the world, capable of launching drone strikes on wedding parties in faraway Muslim lands, but it finds it hard to get clean water to its people of color in Flint, Mich., much less Puerto Rico,” laughed a Chinese senior official, who wished to remain anonymous. “I mean, paper towels? Is that how Americans think they will look great again? We were fast in delivering aid to Cuba after Hurricane Irma. If the U.S. wants our help with Puerto Rico and Flint to help save its own citizens, all it has to do is ask.” U.S.-China experts have dismissed rumors of Chinese humanitarian assistance, saying the Chinese “are totally using this moment to troll us right now. Not cool.”

Amidst the multiple external crises facing the Trump regime, the administration has been rocked with internal strife, including corruption scandals and resignations of senior members. Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned after using $400,000 in taxpayer money on chartered jets. Trump’s businesses have continued to cater to foreign governments. This week, reports revealed that President Trump’s lawyer and the attorney’s friends and associates donated $50,000 in campaign contributions to a district attorney in New York after a criminal investigation was dropped against Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump. Some global analysts have recommended downgrading the United States in global corruption perception indexes.

“Domestic terrorism, mass violence, and natural disasters would be difficult for any normal government to handle,” said Chinedu Ogoro, a Nigerian political analyst. “But there is also a disturbing culture of corruption, as well as a disdain for media and free speech in this new Trump regime. The Americans like to lecture us and other African nations on corruption in our politics. While $400,000 is small kola nuts compared with Nigerian oil ministers looting $153 million from our coffers and hiding cash in their mattresses, we Nigerians know gross government corruption when we see it. And we see it in America’s White House.”

Speaking from his office in Lagos, Ogoro rearranged his papers on his desk and stared at a red, green and black Biafra flag, the symbol of the region that was at the heart of Nigeria’s brutal civil war 50 years ago. “We in Nigeria know what it is like when a country’s deepest threat comes from within, not from immigrants, refugees or other countries. Is America really the greatest nation in the world when the country is bleeding from gun violence, the government is deeply corrupt, and desperate citizens of color are begging for clean water? I’m not so sure anymore. Right now, it’s clear that America is still a developing nation, just like the rest of us.”