Politics in Puerto Rico is almost an everyday topic. The different discussions that might casually arise in the supermarket, talking with your neighbor or family member, while waiting at the barbershop/beauty salon, while riding the bus, sometimes take a weird turn into politics. Mind you, some people are blindly supporting this or that candidate for the sole reason that they belong to their particular political party. While this does make sense in ideological parties like democrats (who represents from time to time some type of progressive agenda) and republicans (who more often than not espouse a regressive conservative agenda), back home people align themselves with three main political parties that represent three different goals for the political status of the island. The pro-statehood party, the pro-commonwealth party (stay as we are now) and the pro-independence party. This particular phenomenon translates to individuals in the different parties that can range from progressive to ultra-conservative in any one of them. So, to talk about politics back home is to talk about political status more or less…which makes sense given the relationship of the island with the US and the ambiguous definitions of what it means to be both Puerto Rican and an American citizen. Here is a succinct link provided by Wikipedia on the matter.
Point in matter, is that politicians exert much influence in the local politics scene. The majority of people in Puerto Rico don’t necessarily follow specific discourses, ideas or ‘real’ issues that politicians embody; more or less people just listen to what many of these people say and accept it as an informed truth, just because this person held (or holds) public office. In this case, some politicians are made out of almost everyone: from local council members, to city mayors, to senators and representatives some (depends on the body and the level of government) of these people in office are just regular Carlos and Carmen of the community. While this might be more true in city politics and a bit on legislative branches, a good chunk of the ‘high posts’ are still held by the elite. My problem with this dichotomy is that we then have ideologies espoused by the elite and engendered by the middle and lower class, even when those ideas don’t reflect their reality.
Of course, you see the local city and ‘non elite’ politicians defending these ideas as their own as if they responded to the reality of their constituents. “Wrong, he was so wrong”…(Mean Girls reference by the way). Opinions are then polarized so that they are aligned with one’s party as opposed to what is right or better.
I find myself in a difficult position in order to recommend a solution to this ‘conundrum’. Do I then believe in a government of the educated ‘elders’ or some sorts? Some sort of Jedi council? Wouldn’t I be replacing one elite with another?
Mind you, I thought this old draft of a post was relevant, seeing the recent attention that violent political rhetoric has gotten here in the US. Again, I’m not giving any answers, but some thoughts