So in the interest of expanding the bigger issue behind why we wrote our group editorial that legitimately asked whether Puerto Rican statehood supporters and politicians would exploit political convenience and root for the Puerto Rican national baseball team and not the United States baseball team in tonight’s World Baseball Classic game, we would be remiss if we didn’t give pro-commonwealth, pro-colony and pro-status quo voice David Bernier some grief as well for his tweet this morning that questioned the “Puerto-Ricanness” of USA team members Marcus Strohman (whose mom is Puerto Rican and once tweeted that he would love to represent the Boricuas) and Nolan Arenado (who once said he was going to play for Puerto Rico, but then chose the USA team):
— David Bernier (@DavidBernierPR) March 17, 2017
“If you don’t feel for the 🇵🇷 then you are not “eligible” to represent us. Am with #LosNuestros until the 27th out.”
Bernier is just at fault as Governor Ricardo Rosselló for playing to the emotions of national pride for political purposes. In this case, Bernier falls into the dangerous trap of being the self-proclaimed arbiter of who gets the Puerto Rican Card or not. For Bernier, it is about painting Boricuaness with a simplistic brush, while in the case of Rosselló, it is how you can’t have it both ways if your main political goal is to make Puerto Rico part of a larger United States Club.
Both politicians failed miserably and both are hypocritical. It reeks of the mediocre politics that the status question has generated for decades.
Why can’t we have more intellectual honesty? Why can’t Bernier just accept the fact that people are free to identify and do what they want and that doesn’t make them any “more” or “less” Puerto Rican? Inclusivity matters. It might actually help his dying Commonwealth cause if he admitted this. As for Rosselló, why not have the political courage to espouse his pro-USA mantra for statehood across all levels of his beliefs? Last time we checked, there is no California baseball team or Texas team or New York team playing against the USA tonight. Statehood would get rid of nights like tonight, and that matters to some people. Rosselló should at least be real about it.
The reality is that there is more complexity to all this and once Puerto Rican political leaders and their supporters begin to be more honest with each other and have the uncomfortable discussions that have to be had, nothing will ever change.
Here’s to more honesty in this debate. It will help everyone involved.