Known as the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia carries a title that is perhaps wishful in a time when violence and racism are occurring nationally and internationally. The 2016 Democratic National Convention will be held here this year, and I am participating as an elected Hillary Clinton delegate representing Santa Barbara.
Welcome to Philadelphia. I have arrived a few days before the convention begins to spend time in the city with my daughter and grandson who are visiting colleges. The East Coast is experiencing a terrible heat wave. Armed with bottles of water and hats, we are determined to see the city pre-convention. As is expected every four years, the city hosting the convention dresses up and holds parties. This time, 50,000 delegates, members of the media, and visitors are expected.
History. Philadelphia is the birthplace of American democracy. Historical tourism drives the economy. The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson and signed here. Not to be missed is the Constitution Center, which has created a special exhibit for the convention called “Headed to the White House.” It is an interactive exhibit that takes a visitor from the campaign trail into the Oval Office. One of the most popular tourist sites is the Liberty Bell, the symbol of American independence. Lines form out side every day. Advice: Go toward the end of the day when you can enter quickly. Philadelphia is a great location for the Democratic convention.
Food. You cannot go hungry in Philadelphia. Locals love to eat out. Near our hotel is the famous Reading Terminal Market with hundreds of food stalls. Here you can get everything from Philly cheese steaks to Amish donuts. The downtown is restaurant heaven and a gathering place for friendly politicos. Last night we met retired governor Ed Rendell at our restaurant who invited us to attend the citywide political fest.
Art. A special exhibit planned by Philadelphia is called “Donkeys Around Town.” It features 57 fiberglass donkeys designed by different artists to be exhibited all across the city, each to represent a state and territory. Politics and art — my favorite combination. The California donkey is right outside our hotel. One of the best looking, it is full of California poppies and has the Hollywood sign on it.
Now that Hillary has announced her choice for veep, the suspense is over. Although the convention starts on Monday morning, July 25, the real party begins the night before with state gatherings all over the city, delegates registering for the week’s activities and getting into their hotel rooms. Behind the scenes, the rules, credentials, and platform committees are finalizing their work.
The Republicans spent most of their convention last week attacking Hillary. Knowing the Democrats as I do, I look forward to a lot more discussion during our convention about what we intend to do once Hillary is in the White House.
Susan Rose, a former Santa Barbara County supervisor, attended her first Democratic National Convention in 1960 as a college student. She’ll be writing about the 2016 convention all week at The Santa Barbara Independent.