Thursday, November 29, 2012

Election Firsts

All the post election news centered around how surprised and bummed out the Republicans were about the election results, and how, once again,  Nate Silver got everything right (I'm beginning to re-think the Niels Bohr observation:  "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."  Silver doesn't seem to have any problem.)

So, it's possible that you missed a few election firsts.   We begin with same-sex marriage.  For the first time by popular vote, same sex marriage laws were passed in Maryland, Maine and Washington.  Minnesota, trying to get on the gay marriage bandwagon, voted no to a ballot initiative to change its constitution to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.  Meanwhile, there were other victories for gays.  Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) became the first openly gay senator in United States history.  And while we're on the subject, Spain's highest court voted to uphold the legality of same-sex marriages in that country.  France is moving toward passing a same sex marriage law in 2013.

In another first, Puerto Ricans voted for the first time in that island's history in favor of statehood in a nonbinding referendum.

Puerto Ricans were asked about their preference in two parts. First, by a 54% to 46% margin, voters rejected their current status as a U.S. commonwealth. In a separate question, 61% chose statehood as the alternative, compared with 33% for the semi-autonomous "sovereign free association" and 6% for outright independence.

Who knows where this will lead, but it may be that there will be a 51st state in the near future.  Among other things, this will mean another blue state, and will move us down the road toward bi-lingualism (as psychologists tell us, increasing American intelligence overall and preventing dementia). The United States now has the 5th largest number of Spanish speakers in the world.  Adding Puerto Rico may move us up the ladder.  You might as well get started right now:  estadidad means statehood.

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