After the rough day one, we opted for a mellow day two of touring Philly. All day long we kept seeing quotes that were applicable to our current political situation. For example, this quote on the side of the National Museum of American Jewish History aptly describes our two party system and what should be our correct response to it:
To bigotry, no sanction. To persecution, no assistance. — George Washington
At the Liberty Bell (inscribed with Leviticus 25:10 in reference to the year of Jubilee), we read about how the bell became a popular symbol for freedom and liberty, but this freedom and liberty was limited to white men.
It contrasted with the unrealized ideals of African Americans, Native Americans, other ethnic groups and women. While the Bell traveled the nation as a symbol of liberty, intermittent race riots, lynchings, and Indian wars presented an alternative picture of freedom denied.
Although we have “freedom” today, our capitalist oligarchy has established a new form of slavery and disenfranchisement. Frederick Douglass said something that still holds significance today:
I shall never forgot the difference between those who fought for liberty and those who fought for slavery.
We visited Independence Hall, where our founding fathers, frustrated with taxation without representation, were willing to sign what essentially amounted to their own death warrant (the Declaration of Independence). Today, there are many tax payers who pay for elections but are not allowed to vote in closed primaries and tax payers who elect representatives that choose to represent large corporations and special interests instead of their constituents – both modern day forms of taxation without representation.
Our tour guide also reminded us of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense, which introduced the revolutionary idea that the colonists should stop thinking of themselves as British and start thinking of themselves as Americans. Although the situation didn’t change, people’s perspective changed. And with this change of perspective, the revolution was born.
Similarly, when people stop thinking of themselves as Democrats and Republicans and start thinking of themselves as Americans and human beings, then the oligarchs, who rely on two-party distraction to continue their oppression unimpeded, will be held to account and subjected to the will of the people.
We took a picture with the Rocky statue and ascended the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (aka, the “Rocky steps”), and then stopped by a tavern to grab a bite to eat. On the television with the volume turned down, the Democratic party did their roll call vote. Close caption was turned on, but the font was difficult to read. Chain of Fools played over the sound system. Bernie supporters in the place were visibly uncomfortable with Clinton’s manufactured victory.
The bar tender looked around at the long faces and said, “I want to drink heavily.”