Thursday, October 9, 2008

Expanding the Battle for Equality

By: Phillip Arroyo

Puerto Rico Senate President, Kenneth McClintock spoke at a Puerto Rican community event in Woodbine, New Jersey in where he stressed the importance of hispanic voting participation, Puerto Rican culture and the impact and contributions of Puerto Ricans throughout our nation. Senator McClintock has been known as one of, if not the only statehood leader on the island who consistently visits and interacts with Puerto Rican communities throughout the continental United States.

Such actions may be imperative immediately after the November 4th local elections, where the Pro Statehood Party lead by Luis Fortuno and Pedro Pieluisi is predicted to win the general elections by a wide margin. A landslide victory in the races for Governor, Resident Commissioner, House, Senate and municipalities could open fertile ground both in Puerto Rico and Washington, DC to put an end to the colonialist political status of Puerto Rico. If the Senate is retained by the Statehood Party by a significant majority, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court may be composed of judges with a majority pro statehood vision for the first time in history.

Nontheless, it is highly important that the Statehood movement's steps toward self determination be taken simultaneously with Puerto Rican communities in the continental United States. The fact of the matter is that many members of Congress, if not a vast majority, have not payed the Puerto Rico political status issue the attention it morally deserves. This could be in part due to the member's natural and logical action of prioritizing soley on issues relevant to their districts. If the statehood movement of Puerto Rico can manage to educate, garner and rally support among Puerto Ricans and non Puerto Ricans of congressional districts throughout the entire nation, it would therefore not only expose the island's political status dilemma, but it would effectively lure the Puerto Rico Status issue to members of Congress as a top priority, for they would be receiving pressure from constituents of their districts.

In a nutshell, a solid local electoral victory with the bipartisan ticket of Luis Fortuno and Pedro Pierluisi, an ideological majority in the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, in conjunction with a nationwide grassroots movement on the mainland in favor of a federally endorsed Puerto Rico self determination process could facilitate the statehood movement with all the necesarry tools to make history by achieving its objective of becoming the fifty first state of the union.

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