As Puerto Rico’s Zoraida Fonalledas, chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization, approached the podium to deliver her address, chants of “USA! USA!” began to swell from the delegations gathered in Tampa. They grew so loud, so disruptive, that Fonalledas wasn’t able to begin her speech for some time.
From Harper’s Magazine:
“The chanting carried on for nearly a minute while most of the other delegates and the media stood by in stunned silence. The Puerto Rican correspondent turned to me and asked, ‘Is this happening?”’ I said I honestly didn’t know what was happening—it was astonishing to see all the brittle work of narrative construction that is a modern political convention suddenly crack before our eyes. None of us could quite believe what we were seeing: A sea of twentysomething bowties and cowboy hats morphing into frat bros apparently shrieking over (or at) a Latina. RNC chairman Reince Priebus quickly stepped up and asked for order and respect for the speaker, suggesting that, yeah, what we had just seen might well have been an ugly outburst of nativism.”
Watching the scene unfold from my sala, I was incensed. Nativism is an ugly creature, especially when it’s directed at other Americans.
On the other hand, as an independentista, I was also thrilled. I thought, here the people of Puerto Rico had prove that there will never be statehood for the island. Here they have prove that, even though they may have citizenship, the mainland will never see them as equals and seat them at the great American table. I knew then how Ben Franklin must’ve felt when he went to London before the Revolution and he realized there would never be a reconciliation between the Colonies and the Crown. As he did in 1774, I began bracing myself for independence.
But what happened Tuesday night was not nativism directed at the Puerto Rican delegation, nor was it the start of a push toward independence for Puerto Rico. It was good old-fashioned democracy on display.
From USA Today:
“Ron Paul backers made their presence felt today at the Republican National Convention, loudly booing and shouting at party leaders over a report on delegate seating.
At issue: New party rules that would bind delegates to the outcome of presidential primaries and caucuses. Presidential candidates would be able to choose which delegates represent them at the convention. In a compromise worked out Monday, the candidates would have to consult with state parties in selecting delegates.
Ron Paul supporters — believing they were entitled to more delegates at the convention — chanted ‘Object! Object!’ over adoption of the delegate report. Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus declined to recognize them.
Some supporters of the Texas congressman and former presidential candidate shouted ‘cheater.’ Eventually, the more numerous Mitt Romney supporters inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum began counter-chanting: ‘Please sit down! Please sit down!’
Priebus had to gavel the convention to a lower volume, saying at one point: ‘Guys, we will proceed with the order of business.’ “
So I guess the debate over the status of Puerto Rico will have to go on, maybe for another 120 years.
Bring on the status quo.