In March, the House of Representatives voted to allow the commonwealth of Puerto Rico to hold a referendum on statehood. Although the Senate is expected to sit on the idea indefinitely, advocates of D.C. statehood are not pleased. It was only five years ago, after all, that a supposedly more sympathetic Democratic Congress squashed statehood for our capital city in an embarrassingly lopsided 277-153 vote.
To some, the tacit approval of Puerto Rican statehood is especially galling in light of D.C.’s more statelike behavior. One of the main differences: Our amigos in the Indies are curently exempt from federal taxes; statehood would mean more money in federal coffers. But a brief glance at some of the other disparities between the two might explain both why Puerto Rico would make a better state than D.C. and why the Latino-courting GOP might prefer it.
|Candidates||Puerto Rico||District of Columbia|
|Climate||Mild; mean temperature of 77 F||Unbearable summer humidity; wearisome, drab winters|
|Official Motto||“Joannes est Nomen ejus” (John is his name)||“Justicia Omnibus” (Justice for all)|
|Unofficial Motto (drug-induced)||“Gatillo al chota” (Shoot down the snitch)—ubiquitous graffiti slogan||“The bitch set me up”—Mayor Marion Barry|
|Local Government||Democratically elected representative house||Democratically elected but federally baby-sat council|
|Political litmus test||82% pro-life
91% pro-school prayer
|Mayor Barry endorsed a 1997 initiative to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes|
|Voter registration||Not known (Puerto Ricans can’t vote in U.S. elections)||78% Democrat