Monday, October 11, 2010
LBC Day 24 – Should Puerto Rico Be A State?
This is a debate that I am on the fence about. There are so many ways to look at this issue. Puerto Rico and statehood is something that I am not sure I will see in my lifetime but the question is why not? This idea that Puerto Rico should a state, or remain a commonwealth, or be independent can create a long debate amongst Puerto Ricans both native and American born.
I think that people focus on the fact that taxes will have to be paid by residents of the island,which is considered bad thing to many people since that is something they may not want to do. Of course this may mean that the standard of living cost will rise as well. The interest rate for the United States is much higher then that of Puerto Rico and somehow that gap will become a big problem. So economics play a great role in this debate.
However, I think the fact that Statehood would allow Puerto Rico representation within Congress and the Senate is a bigger deal to me. While someone currently sits in Congress as the Resident Commissioner, that person has no vote. Sure, this elected official can serve on committees and do the things that other members of the House or Representatives can do, this person cannot cast a ballot for any issues that may effect Puerto Rico. Being a state would afford Puerto Rico with the same rights and leverage as any other state within the union.
On the other hand, the big issue of English being the official language of the United States can be a deal breaker. The United States has no official language and many politicians are looking to change that. If that does happen and Puerto Rico gained statehood, they would have to abide by this. Clearly this is an issue to many people who are native to the island. Of course, we can argue semantics and say that the commonwealth status allows for so much tourism into Puerto Rico from the US that most places do speak English.
Currently, Puerto Rico has the best of both worlds. They can have an international team in any sport during world play. They can have their own entrance into the Miss Universe Pageant (which is a big deal). Those two things alone help with the sense of pride for island residents. The best part for them is that they get the benefits of being a US citizen without having to pay taxes.
There has been a call for Puerto Rico Independence over the years because if you think about it, they have been under some kind of rule since the time of Columbus (whether it is Spain or the US). This is something that I am not so sure about. While I completely understand the point of letting Puerto Rico be free in this world, I would hate it if it became a poor island that was run by corrupt politicians.
My view on this is that commonwealth status may be best for all parties involved. But, what do I know, I do not live there. Perhaps if I did, I could come up different perspective. Hmm...that is not a bad idea either.