“They Won’t Let Us”?

 

There’s a lot of talk on Twitter about statehood for Puerto Rico right now. There are people from all over the U.S. tweeting in support of statehood, tweeting questions about statehood, and tweeting about the possibility of statehood in greater numbers than we’ve seen before.

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The claim that Puerto Rico was denied statehood last year? That’s confusion about the Supreme Court decisions that said Puerto Rico doesn’t have the kind of sovereignty a state does. Remember, many people in the U.S. believe that Puerto Rico is already a state. Seeing Puerto Rico in the news, in the courts, and in the delegations at the national party conventions is making more people think about Puerto Rico. And that’s making more people talk about Puerto Rico statehood.

But we’re also seeing tweets like this: “This country will never grant Puerto Rico statehood” and “They’ll never let us have statehood.”

After more than a century as a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico may feel hopeless about statehood. But there have been 32 other territories that have become states of the union. It hasn’t always been easy.

Congress had concerns about New Mexico, which had few English speakers. They were worried about Utah, which had cultural differences from the other states at the time. Tennessee had to get very creative.

Puerto Rico is closer to statehood than ever before. Awareness of the issue is growing, and the people of the United States are realizing that the status of Puerto Rico is a human rights issue that should be important to all Americans.

Who is this “they” who won’t let Puerto Rico become a state? Puerto Rico doesn’t have to accept that idea.

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