Friday, November 16, 2012

Reason #264: Round Numbers

I am by no means an expert in Puerto Rico's history and legal status. My rough understanding, based mostly on my fairly good historical understanding of territoriality, has always been that Puerto Ricans would very much like to be a state, but the federal government has always managed to screw them out of it one way or another.

Well, in the wake of last week's election and the mixed-at-best results of Puerto Rico's statehood referendum, it looks like the situation is nowhere near that simple.

Here's the deal: according to the first part of the referendum, a tight 54% majority "disagrees" with Puerto Rico's current legal status. Given that their economy isn't doing so great and their population is shrinking as more and more people leave for the mainland United States, it's fairly easy to see how a rethinking of its role in the US could shake up a better scenario, at least where taxes are concerned.

According to the second part of the referendum--technically--61% supported statehood, as opposed to 33% for "sovereign commonwealth", whatever the hell that is, and 6% for balls-out independence, which I believe is a Jeffersonian term. However, a large enough portion of voters only filled in the first part of the referendum, such that if you counted all the blank ballots as tantamount to a vote for "none of the above", the actual percentage of voters who supported statehood was only 45%.

What exactly these theoretical "none of the above" people would've preferred instead, I can only imagine, but given that the pro-statehood officials who were also on the ballot last Tuesday were soundly defeated, it seems clear that the statehood thing is at best controversial, if not downright unpopular.

For my part, I would be happy to have Puerto Rico become a state were it not for the fact that we're currently sitting at the nice round number of fifty--equal representation is all well and good, but give me numerical aesthetics or give me death.

Here's my proposal: since Obama's reelection, over 112,000 citizens and counting have signed an official petition to the White House to grant Texas independence, that it may become a sovereign nation of its own. some many point out that it doesn't quite work that way, but I think that from this point on we should have a sort of barter system--if a state decides they want to secede, they can only go if they convince someone else to take their seat at the table. If Texas wants to go, they can go just as soon as they figure out a way to bring Puerto Rico on board.

Of course, once Texas has seceded and the US government has taken back all the military assets and personnel currently stationed there, we may have to talk invasion--can't have a rogue nation like Texas sitting unhindered right across our border. But don't worry, Texans; I'm sure we can come up with a nice territorial option for you. Puerto Rico seems happy with theirs.

Further Reading

Did Puerto Rico Really Vote for Statehood?

Obama’s Re-Election Inspires Southern Secessionists

Official Petition for Texan Secession

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