Politics in Puerto Rico

This was originally written in 2010 and so it might seem a little dated.

High up on the list of discussions for drunken philosophers anywhere in the world is politics. My doctor tells me nearly every time I see her, "Never engage a Puerto Rican in a discussion about politics." Generally I am not one to back down from a chance to argue American politics.

Things are different in Puerto Rico, she tells me. Apparently arguing politics will at minimum cost you your friendship and it may result in a fight that could become physical.

For one thing, the arguments I am used to, tax cuts for the wealthy, tax and service cuts across the board, public schools in certain areas getting more than others in the ghetto, abortion, capital punishment, to go to war or not to go to war, undocumented workers, and as of late, Universal Healthcare and who’s to blame for the economic downturn of the last three years are of little to no consequence to your average Puerto Rican.

The three things often argued about:

  1. Statehood
  2. Remain a colony
  3. Become an independent country

Not wanting to inject my desires, I simply state this observation.

Like many Americans, Puerto Ricans feel strongly about something because of the way it affects them or their families and are often blinded by information available—on the Internet, in the newspaper, magazines, etc.—to them that might blow huge holes in their theories.

Otherwise functional families have been known to stop speaking to certain members because one is for statehood and the other for independence. We have heard that fistfights in bars have ensued as a result of arguing politics. From our friends that are farmers, to Leo and Alba, to our doctor all have warned us: “Never discuss politics.”

I am complicit.

(I should note that looking back on the last eight years we've lived here, I have yet to see people actually fighting over politics. Me thinks my doctor may be wrong on this one.)