That’s the title of my weekend article over at RealClearHistory. An excerpt:
9. Puerto Rico. Officially an unincorporated territory of the United States, Puerto Rico was acquired by Washington, along with Cuba and the Philippines, in the course of the Spanish-American War of 1898. Not quite an annexed state and not quite a colony, the island has been in legal limbo since the war with Spain ended. In 2017, a referendum was held on the issue of statehood (the fifth of its kind since 1952), and an overwhelming majority of those who voted preferred statehood to independence or the status quo.
Unfortunately, “those who voted” only accounted for about 23% of the island’s population, and referendum was popularly-held, meaning that the legislature didn’t vote on the matter (which is what the federal congress would require in order to consider a Puerto Rican application). Despite the odds being stacked against a Spanish-speaking state, there has never been a better time than now to join the union, especially if representatives could work in tandem with representatives of Jefferson. The history of American statehood is one of balance in the Senate. If Maine could join as a free state, then Missouri could join as a slave state. If Hawaii could join as a blue state, then Alaska could join as a red state. If Puerto Rico joined the union it would be as a blue state, and Jefferson could be the red yang to San Juan’s yin.
3 thoughts on “RCH: “10 Places That Should Join the U.S.””
Bringing in the Canadian ‘flyover provinces’ has some of the same problems as creating states out of reservations in the US, there is a non-trivial population of Métis and First Nations with treaty rights that can’t be ignored. I like the idea generally, I think everyone that wears high heeled boots and Stetson hats should be together…
Thought provoking, as always, Brandon—and while infinitely mootable, undeserving of some of the more rancorous criticism it provoked on the RCH website. That said–as if you didn’t have enough to cope with–we beg leave to present one additional cavil. Before you wince, please accept our assurance that unlike all other responses along this thread, ours has absolutely nothing to do with your exposition. (Really.) So with profound respect and your begged indulgence, we suggest a single, “infinitesimally small” (to insert one of John Kerry’s signature tautologies), and entirely semantical revision. So small, in fact, we wouldn’t bother you about it, were it not for our tireless efforts on behalf of America’s youth.
Consider: Ours is an era in which educators connive to purge American history from the academy. Hence, our nation’s past is either deconstructed as a social-justice critique, or wiped from the liberal-arts palette altogether. It seems especially important, therefore, to produce unambiguous prose accessible even to younger readers incapable of guessing who bombed Pearl Harbor or in what century the War of 1812 occurred.
We make this point in conjunction with your sentence: “Puerto Rico was acquired by Washington, along with Cuba and the Philippines, in the course of the Spanish-American War of 1898.” You may be too young, Brandon, to recall the cartoon show “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” but the sentence quoted above reminded us (or at least those of us fossilized enough to be reminded) of a particular exchange between the lead characters. But before going further, we feel an obligation to bring unfossilized readers up to speed. Rocky, the hero, was a flying squirrel always depicted in WWII aviators’ headgear His loyal-if-adorably-slow-witted sidekick, Bullwinkle, was a bipedal moose whose entire costume consisted of white gauntlets. (It seemed reasonable at the time.)
Here’s the scene your sentence brought to mind: Rocky has just uncovered a fiendish plot by stock players Boris and Natasha (villainous foreign agents remindful of Russians, but said to hail from “Pottsyvania,” possibly in an effort to preempt Soviet objections). Although none of us recalls the specifics, we agree on the point that something horrible was scheduled to befall the United States Navy, if the plot succeeded. Luckily, in the nick of time, Rocky catches wind of what’s afoot. He dashes to his sidekick and breathlessly outlines the scheme. Bullwinkle devotes a few seconds to absorbing the details before asking, sapiently enough, “What should we do?” Rocky, ever the patriot, declares, “We need to tell Washington about this right away!” Bullwinkle, however, frowns, scratches for a moment between his antlers, and replies, “I don’t think that’s possible, Rocky, he’s been dead for years.”
The applicable moral? “Metonymy’s a useful trope, except when it confuses dopes.” Or, adjusted for political correctness, “Save the millennials!”
You get the idea, though. right?—Your adamant fans in the WOOF cave
Hahah that’s a good one. I remember watching Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons at my grandparents place in a Denver suburb. It was too weird for me, but my grandmother sure seemed to chuckle a lot…