Proof that the Tea Partiers and others are on target when they criticize both political parties was supplied by the behavior of the U.S. House on April 29. Demoting all major economic and corruption problems facing our country to the bottom of the agenda, the House devoted a long afternoon and 12 roll-call votes to passing a bill to force U.S. statehood on Puerto Rico.
Of course, this ploy had to be Nancy Pelosi's doing, but she made it bipartisan by getting 39 Republicans to vote with her. They walked like lambs to the slaughter, led by (I'll tactfully omit the appropriate metaphor) Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Puerto Ricans have voted against statehood in three referenda, most recently in 1998. Congress didn't get the message and plans to make them vote again.
However, the new vote prescribed in the mischievously named "Democracy" bill will set an all-time record for dishonest elections. The plan will require Puerto Rico to hold two new referenda that are rigged to enable some to claim that Puerto Rico voted to become a state.
The first referendum would require Puerto Ricans to vote on whether they want to retain their current commonwealth status or change their "political status." Try asking any Republican whether he wants to change our current political status, and you will see what a ridiculous question that is.
If "change" wins the first referendum, a second referendum will require Puerto Ricans to choose among four options: statehood, independence, "sovereignty in association with the United States" (an obviously vague choice) or retain the current commonwealth status. With four choices on the ballot, the winner would receive only a plurality, not a majority.
The bill would allow persons who were born in Puerto Rico but now live and vote in the United States to vote in these Puerto Rican referenda. That means giving the vote to a group based on ethnicity rather than on residency, and should be held unconstitutional under the 15th Amendment.
If statehood is approved by a plurality, the game plan of the statehood lobbyists is immediately to elect persons designated as U.S. senators and representatives, put them on a plane and send them to knock on the U.S. Capitol door demanding to be seated. Those who object to recognizing these Puerto Ricans as U.S. Senate and House members would be labeled racists.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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