Philadelphia

1. When I emerge from the subway at 8th and Market, having crossed the river and seeing the city glow in the sunlight or illumine the night, the filth of the air currently strikes me in the face.

There have been conversations great and small on those streets. Walking down Market in front of Independence Mall with Paul I’ve learned about firearms in the 18th c., the financing of the Revolution, and the sweltering heat of the buildings in which statescraft was forged.

I’ve muttered to myself open letters to Jefferson and Hamilton while walking right in front of where the old Treasury building stood or walking around Carpenter’s Hall.

There have been conversations aplenty in cafes, on the Mall, at the Alliance Francaise, in the Art Museum directed at others, hoping they’ll lead.

The greatest blessing we have is self-government. The fraternity that emerges from helping each other lead the lives they want to lead is the political truly.

2. And yet this city is falling apart. A friend living in Fairmount Park talks about how the homeless will just settle on her steps and not move. The wage tax and property taxes are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of incompetence and graft. We’re all familiar with the police shortage of 400, and how many deaths that probably have occurred because of it.

I don’t want to rule – I have been explicit with myself in the open letters about this. My freedom right now is what allows me to find and engage talented people: without it, I’m limited and forced to do work where others would be far more competent.

I am thinking of starting a free class in the city, though. My friends could easily make the history of Philadelphia come alive, they’ve taught me everything I know. They could also encourage people in their creative endeavors, help document the life of the city. I could run a third stage of such a program: hold a reading group at Cosi or something.

I dunno. Something has to be done. The origin of this country is withering away before our eyes.

1 Comment

  1. Yes, the wage tax is a major problem with the city. I-76 is another annoyance. I have a good idea, let’s build a two lane highway that’s sandwiched between a river and a mountain that goes into a major metropolis city! Also, let’s tax the crap out of companies so they leave in droves to the suburbs! I am sick of Philly, and I am moving to South Carolina for nicer people and lower taxes.

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