Thursday, February 07, 2008

No Apologies to "Foreign Citizens"

Gotta love when a conquistadora jumps head first into the cesspool of American Exceptionalism. Take U.S. Representative Ginny Brown-Waite, Republican of Florida, who last week decided that she would stick a finger in the eye of the Puerto Rican and Guam communities.
Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, was complaining about parts of an economic-stimulus package when she referred to residents of Puerto Rico and Guam as "foreign citizens."

". . . The bill sends hundreds of millions of dollars to people who do not pay federal income taxes, including residents of Puerto Rico and territories like Guam. I do not believe American taxpayer funds should be sent to foreign citizens who do not pay taxes. Americans want an economic stimulus for Dunnellon, Brooksville and Clermont, not for San Juan or Hagatna. As the legislation moves forward, it must be changed to ensure that only federal taxpaying American citizens receive rebate checks."

This prompted universal condemnation from all over the place, including action by the Puerto Rican House.

In a resolution that passed unanimously, the Puerto Rico House said Brown-Waite's comments are denigrating and ignorant.

"Congresswoman Brown-Waite's statement is infuriating and contradictory as it pertains to four million of her fellow American citizens that live in our island," House Speaker Jose Aponte Hernández said in a press release.

"The distorted perception she has of Puerto Ricans is incredible given that she is part of a state with a large population of Hispanics of which close to a million are Puerto Ricans."

Demands for an apology, however, have been met with...shall we say, some resistance?

Charlie Keller, Brown-Waite's spokesman, acknowledged that a press release sent last week used the wrong word when it called Puerto Ricans "foreign citizens" but said Monday that Brown-Waite does not intend to apologize.

"The clarification I issued about the word choice was appropriate and plenty enough," Keller said.

Keller said "territorial citizens" would have been a better phrase to describe Puerto Ricans' status in the press release issued last week explaining why Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, reluctantly voted for President Bush's economic stimulus package that provides tax rebate checks to residents of Puerto Rico and Guam.

The article goes on:

The comment, Keller said, "has not been an issue for the Congresswoman's constituents."

Brown-Waite's office has received about a dozen calls on the issue, and most were in favor of the Congresswoman's stance on nixing rebate checks for territorial citizens, Keller said.

Let's change that:
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite
Brooksville Office: 352-799-8354
Dade City Office: 352-567-6707
Washington, DC Office: 202-225-1002
Toll-Free from within Florida's 5th District: 1-866-GWAITES
Crossposted at culturekitchen

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