The status Puerto Rico enjoys since 1952 is called, in Spanish, Estado Libre Asociado, or ELA, for short. Translated, ELA means “Free Associated State.”
Oxy. And moron.
What ELA really means is Emotionally Lackadaisical Adolescence, for what this status has created is basically a whiny teenager living in “daddy’s house.” You know, the whiny teenager who wants to be his own person, but relies on rent-free digs and his allowance—a handout, really—to act cool and pretend to be an adult.
What the commonwealth status has done to Puerto Rico is suspend the island in limbo. Neither fish nor fowl, neither child to be protected from the world nor allowed to be an adult to protect himself, Puerto Rico is a teenager and one with an attitude problem to boot. There is nothing a whiny teenager hates more than being told he must either “step up or buckle down,” to become his own man or woman, or continue to live by “daddy’s rules because it’s daddy’s house.” It galls because, for the teenager, the argument cannot be beat, except by leaving the comforts of “daddy’s house.”
And therein lies the problem. Puerto Rico has steadfastly refused to tell daddy: “My time is now. I’m going to be in charge of myself and do my own thing.” In fact, Puerto Rico could actually be considered the International House of Waffles for all the indecision it has shown in this area.
Commonwealth is a $1 word for colony and even commonwealth supporters, the whiniest of the whiny, acknowledge it needs to be “culminated.” Think about this: Our only representative in Congress is a non-voting “member,” whose job description can be summed up in two words: Head Beggar. The Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico begs and begs and begs (call it “lobbying,” “networking” or “politicking,” it still boils down to begging) and the biggest beggar “wins.” Talk about whiny…
So what do commonwhiners consider “culmination”? Former governor Rafael Hernández Colón made loud noises about two decades ago that he was going to “withdraw into solitude and create a thesis for culminating the current status.” Many, many, many months later, he returned with a mammoth document whose abstract was simply: We want more money and more power, but we don’t want to pay for anything or work any harder.”
The so-called ELA thesis dropped from sight and no other attempt has been made to “culminate” what has no apex. It’s like polishing a mirage: only those out of touch with reality would believe it could be done.
Will the commonwealth status be changed? Sure. It has to. There are few uglier sights than that of a 53-year old teenager hanging around the house and whining about how “he don’t get no respect.” There comes a time when even the most patient and loving of “daddies” decides that it’s time to kick the whiny pusillanimous sponger out of the house, for his own good. Some would call that “tough love.”
For Us, it would be “tough luck.” We had—have—the chance to make Our own path, but We’ll just diddle and dither until “daddy” chooses one for Us. You think he’ll care as much as We about that path? Although actually, he couldn’t possibly care less…
The Jenius Has Spoken.