So the Democrats have picked Philadelphia as the site for their 2016 National Convention, selecting the City of Brotherly Love over the other two finalists — Columbus, Ohio and Brooklyn, New York.
Apparently Philadelphia’s role in American history tipped the balance. According to the New York Times report, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz touched the Liberty Bell and said: “In addition to their commitment to a seamless and safe convention, Philadelphia’s deep-rooted place in American history provides a perfect setting for this special gathering.” Because both Columbus and Brooklyn presumably also were committed to having “a seamless and safe convention” — at least, you’d sure hope so — we can surmise that Philadelphia’s past role as site of the Constitutional Convention, home of Ben Franklin, and so forth was the deciding factor.
I’m a fan of Philly, but I think this is a bad choice — and not just because I’m a Columbus resident who hoped that both the Republican and Democrat conventions would be held in the Buckeye State in 2016. The issue is whether you are forward-looking, or backward-looking. It’s like the decision that was made years ago to change the location of the presidential inauguration ceremony from the east side of the Capitol building to the west side. The east side had tradition, but the west side was spacious, with a vista spanning the Mall and its monuments. The country’s future lay to the west, and moving the inauguration ceremony was a solid symbolic move — as well as allowing more space.
Which city best represents the future here? Growing Columbus, with its bustling economy? Diverse Brooklyn, which is constantly reinventing itself? Or Philadelphia?