File this one under “Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.”
This week, Republican Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner and non-voting member of Congress, took to the House floor and defended cockfighting. No, seriously, she did.
At one point in her speech, González-Colón made an indirect cases for Puerto Rico’s statehood because if the U.S. colony were a state, it could sue the federal government under the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. It is a point one of her Twitter profiles noted as well in Spanish:
¿¡Que el estatus no importa!? Si fuéramos estado, podríamos impugnar la prohibición de las peleas de gallo bajo la 10ma enmienda a la Constitución, como una intromisión indebida a los poderes soberanos del Estado. Los que defienden el ELA dejan a PR sin representación con voto
— Jenniffer González (@Jenniffer2012) December 12, 2018
All in the defense of cockfighting.
As one LR fan said, “She literally will defend chickens before children… #NoPuedo.”
Aside the irony that a pro-statehood proponent is suddenly defending Puerto Rican culture, we take a moment and remind everyone that just because a tradition is a tradition, cockfighting is still animal cruelty. As the ASPCA notes:
Besides being cruel to animals, cockfighting is closely connected to other crimes such as gambling, drugs and acts of violence. Bets on the fights can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on the reputation of the breeder’s birds. Attendees can sometimes even purchase box seats the way you would for a sporting event.
Illegal weapons have also been found at cockfights because of the large amounts of cash present, and law enforcement raids across the country have established that cockfights are well attended by gang members, further encouraging violence and illegal drug use. To avoid suspicion, organizers regularly move the events to new locations. Despite these unsettling facts, cockfights often inspire a party-like atmosphere in which entire families gather, including children.
Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states and is a felony offense in 42 states and the District of Columbia. The possession of birds for fighting purposes is prohibited in 39 states and the District of Columbia, and being a spectator at a cockfighting event is illegal in 43 states and the District of Columbia.
So let’s get one thing straight: González-Colón wants Puerto Rico to become a state, but supports an activity that “is illegal in all 50 states” as well as DC?
Welcome to Macondo.
UPDATE, December 14: Congress has voted to ban cockfighting in Puerto Rico with the passage of the latest Farm Bill.