Democrats in Philadelphia are blue.
This city largely contributed to Sen. John Kerry’s slim victory in the Keystone State, painting its 21 electoral votes blue in favor of the Democratic challenger. But as we all know, President Bush romped elsewhere on Nov. 2, depressing a majority of Philadelphians beyond reason.
Now, in the wake of an election victory where the president flourished, a number of Philadelphia residents have resigned to name-calling, belly-aching and generalized pot-shots at Bush supporters; all 59 million of them. Granted, Kerry supporters boosted their candidate by a resounding 400,000 vote margin within the city, fueled by massive ‘Get out the Vote’ campaigns such as America Coming Together (ACT) and MoveOn.org. Because of the drives, Kerry had 50,000 more votes in the city than Al Gore in 2000, and he carried all 66 wards.
What many Philadelphians fail to realize is that politics and public sentiment in this city is unlike many states in the union. Philadelphia is vehement in its support for Democrats and has a history of exercising it. Much like its sports teams, residents of the city are consumed by pre-championship fervor, only to blame and whine after their teams lose. The attitude has pervaded electoral politics, leading to a “liberal hysteria” that has demonized the opposition, painting Bush-supporting conservatives as gun-toting, gas guzzling, Fox News-loving, religious zealots and uneducated war mongers.
Don’t tell a number of Philadelphians this, but they are largely wrong in their assertion. While city dwellers are touting their education and political enlightenment, many conservative voters are making informed choices. According to an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, seminary professor Ron Sider affirmed that a majority of oft-maligned evangelical Christians support strengthening environmental laws, while 45 percent support civil unions for homosexuals. Yes, President Bush stands against environmental regulation and gay marriage and most evangelical Christians voted to re-elect him. Yes, the president has turned a huge surplus into a record deficit and has taken the country into a questionable war. But for Philadelphians to flirt with the idea of deportation or secession of the South and Midwest is laughable. For Philadelphia’s City Paper to advocate becoming a Canadian citizen as its No. 1 way to survive the next four years is deplorable.
While President Bush is derided for attempting to unite the country during his next term, overzealous Democrats in Philadelphia are doing as much as Bush has done during his first four years to help the cause: nothing.
We all live in a deeply divided country, exacerbated by Bush’s policies. But for the moment, facing four years of uncertainty, we must all trust each other to some degree, especially if we feel we cannot trust the president. Patronizing the political opposition while refusing to consider a differing viewpoint will do no more to advance the country than proposing an amendment to the Constitution banning gay marriage.
President Bush has not been a completely effective leader. But during his re-election speech he showed a glimmer of optimism and unification that we hope will transcend Bush’s red-state only legacy.
“Reaching these goals will require the broad support of Americans, so today I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent: to make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work to earn it … We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America.”
To better this country, President Bush must wade through the sea of blue that is the Northeast and West Coast. In return, Philadelphians must start seeing red, meaning entertaining the idea that conservative voters throughout the country hold rational convictions. Hopefully, that will mean more than blind anger and opposition.