For all of you in the US (and that includes PR), election day is finally here. Whatever your opinions, whatever your choices, please go out today and exercise your right to vote.
Having said that, however, we are not voting today. We can't vote in Michigan anymore and don't feel comfortable enough with our understanding of politics here on the island to make any kind of informed decisions. And, because we have no congress persons or senators from Puerto Rico (i.e., no representation), there are no federal candidates to vote for either - including the presidency. So we're sitting this one out.
A good friend who now lives "off-island" shared these observations about Puerto Rican politics:
"The island is a strange place, as you are finding out. Think about it – in [the US,] a nation of close to 300 million in population the President gets to appoint 2,700 to federal positions (cabinet, sub-cabinet, ambassadors and the like). Puerto Rico only has 3-4 million (depending who you ask), but the governor gets to appoint 5,000 to state jobs. No wonder the politics are so emotional. There are a lot of jobs at stake. After the elections tomorrow make sure not to stray too far from home. It will get crazy in the island during the counting of the votes...I cannot emphasis [sic] this point enough. It does get crazy."
I think we'll take his advice and stay close to home tonight. Ola Lola's is closed because it's Tuesday - but we would be anyway because it's election day. By law, no alcohol can be sold between 12:00 am this morning and 9:00 pm tonight. That's so the passions at the polls aren't fueled by alcohol. Today is a holiday in PR. Many businesses are closed so people can go vote. The political passion does translate into high voter turnout here, though. Typically, more than 80% of the voters actually vote.