Friday, November 9, 2012

Lemming Tracks: Puerto Rico, Statehood, and Getting a Grip

As far as the Lemming is concerned, if folks living in Puerto Rico think it's a good idea to become a state, instead of a territory: that's fine. If they don't, also fine. Being a state seems to make sense: but the Lemming lives a few thousand miles away from Puerto Rico, and that's another topic.

Voting, Puerto Rico, and Congress

"Puerto Rico wants to become the 51st state of the US"
BBC News (November 7, 2012)

"Voters in Puerto Rico have supported a non-binding referendum to become a full US state.

"The measure will require approval from the US Congress, but President Barack Obama has said he will respect the vote.

"The island is currently a US territory, which uses the dollar and whose citizens travel on US passports.

"But it does not return senators to the US Congress and is represented in Washington by a non-voting delegate.

"Almost 80% of the island's electorate took part in the referendum, the fourth in the past 45 years...."

The Lemming figured it was only a matter of time before most Puerto Ricans got used to the idea of having equal status with the existing 50 states.

There's also the matter of folks from the 48 contiguous states, plus Hawaii and Alaska, getting used to the idea that Americans don't need to look like Archie Bunker. More topics.

When news about the statehood referendum came out, the Lemming also figured that it was only a matter of time before someone found a dark lining to this silver cloud. It didn't take long.

An associate professor says the referendum vote is wrong, because Puerto Ricans don't want statehood.

They're Not Supposed to Want That?

"Puerto Rico Statehood Experts Challenge Results"
Christina Ng, ABC News blog (November 8, 2012)

"A vote in Puerto Rico over the island’s status as a U.S. territory has triggered a fierce debate over whether a majority voted to become the 51st state.

"The island territory has been debating the issue for decades and pro-statehood politicians are celebrating Tuesday's vote claiming it was the first time in 45 years that Puerto Ricans have voted for statehood.

"Others, however, are challenging that conclusion and argue that the vote indicates opposition to statehood.

" 'Puerto Ricans in general are just dissatisfied with the current government,' Yarimar Bonilla, a Rutgers University assistant professor of anthropology and Caribbean studies, told"

Maybe an associate professor is right, and all those Puerto Ricans didn't know what they really want. Then again, maybe Puerto Ricans aren't quite as unaware as they're supposed to be.

This isn't 1893, Puerto Rico isn't Hawaii, and that's another boatload of topics.

Passports? What Passports?

"Important Travel Information on Puerto Rico", U.S. Department of State (undated)

"Inaccurate press reports about travel between Puerto Rico and mainland United States

"Contrary to a number of inaccurate press reports stemming from a July 16, 2012 article that misquoted a State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs official, there is no passport requirement for U.S. citizens for direct travel between the mainland United States and U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands...."

Sometimes reporters get it right. Sometimes they don't. Deadlines, assumptions, and creative editors, may be factors in news media's relationship with reality.

The Lemming's opined about news, and what folks expect, in another blog:

"...In the wake of the Kennedy assassination in 1963, up to somewhere after Watergate, reporters were taken quite seriously. The brave reporter, on a quest for Truth, became a stock character in movies. I've discussed stereotypes and movies before....

"...When Richard T. Heffron needed intrepid heroes for a movie about a conspiracy by robots to take over the world, "reporters" filled the bill neatly. That was in 1976.

"Like I've said before, change happens. A few years after "Futureworld", another creative team gave us a somewhat different view of reporters...."
(A Catholic Citizen in America (April 27, 2012))

And that's - what else? - yet another topic.

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