I often describe my 20-year relationship with Philly as abusive. I love her intensely but man, she cuts me deep sometimes.
Home to one of the deepest poverty rates in the country, she offers tax abatements for $1 million dollar condos in Center City while our poorest children live in houses contaminated with lead. There are many admirable and honest politicians, but we have more than our far share who aren't. (I'm looking at you Seth Williams. My bathroom is need of a reno. Maybe your generous contractor friend who gave you a $40,000 roof is up for sending some gifts my way). Everyone celebrated this year when there was funding to provide essential resources like a nurse and counselor to every public school and even a little "extra" money to buy textbooks. For me the front page headline missed that most citizens shrugged and carried on for the last four years while our schools, attended primarily by poor black and brown children, operated with too few resources. The headline should have read this isn't enough and why did it take so long? And the answer to that would be another painful reminder that even in our diverse city, structural racism is actively at work.
For everything Philly hits me and leaves me doubting our relationship, she always woos me back. Recently walking her streets in Society Hill, I saw the tolerance and freedom woven into her fabric and history. Walk just a few blocks from Independence Hall and you will find the historic places of worship of all faiths that have called this city home since the 1700s. Philadelphia, from its origin, knew that diversity made a stronger city and country. She continues to live that value today by being a sanctuary city despite Trumps threats to withhold our own federal tax dollars. And just this week when the GOP decided to bring their platform of hate to our fair city, Philadelphia wrapped their hotel with the queerest of dance parties and the mightiest of protests. When Trump's mouth spit lies about our city's murder rate, our mayor denounced him with the actual fact that our murder rate is at a 40-year low while pointing out Trump's disrespect for the "blue lives" protecting his ass while he was in town.
This week reminded me of why I was immediately lovestruck when I got together with Philly 20 years ago - her quirky sense of humor, her grit despite long odds, her tolerance of all walks of live and her love of humanity. Like any long-term relationship, we've had some ups and downs over the years, but I can think of no other place I'd rather be - fiercely resisting with my brothers and sisters - here in Philadelphia.