This past weekend, Puerto Rico, which is officially an “unincorporated territory of the United States”, decided to become America’s 51st state. Now, that would be wonderful news except for one thing… the Caribbean Isle doesn’t get the chance to make it so, just because they voted for it. It has to jump through five more hurdles before that can happen.
First of all, they have to petition congress to become a state. Let’s assume they’ll do that since they voted in favor of statehood. IF congress decides to, they will pass what is called an “enabling act”, which basically sets the framework in place for the state to draft its constitution. That’s step two. Step three is then the state must hold a “constitutional convention” whereby they actually write their constitution, and then they have to have it ratified by the residents of the proposed state. Step four is, IF the proposed state’s constitution is passed, it goes to congress for them to consider it. The fifth step is for congress, if they approve the state’s constitution, to issue an “act of admission”. This means that they have agreed that the new territory should indeed become a state. And finally, it goes to the president, like all bills, for his signature or his veto. IF he signs it, then, and only then, the territory becomes a state.
That’s a long and drawn out process. And Puerto Rico has just achieved part one of step one. And they have some rather large roadblocks to get out of the way. The major one is, Puerto Rico is rather Democrat, and both houses of congress are rather Republican; so is the president. Why a Republican controlled House and Senate (and president), would want to add members of the opposing party is beyond my comprehension. They actually wouldn’t, and so until both houses of congress become held by the Democrats again, and the White House is held by Dems as well, this whole procedure will probably go nowhere.
Now, I realize that that that isn’t going to sit well with Puerto Ricans. They, after all, are in the middle of declaring bankruptcy. They’ve asked the US to bail them out, which would be exceedingly dangerous, especially with states like California teetering on the brink (it’s legal to bail out cities…it’s not legal to bail out states). But Puerto Ricans would love not have to pay for their decades of corruption and mismanagement their governments have undertaken. They’d love for Uncle Sam to swoop in and save the day without having to get their hands dirty. Hell, most people would love that too!
No, Puerto Rico, though a nice place to visit, shouldn’t become our 51st state. We’ve got enough, and we’ve got enough problems without worrying about their financial situation as a “welcome to the Union party”. All in all, I think it’s time Puerto Rico pay its bills, get it its house in order, and THEN consider joining the union.
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!