As the United States stands influx, all eyes are fixed on the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. Philadelphia, the birthplace of our nation, is at the center of the presidential election.
She is highlighted not because of the great food (Jims, Mama’s and Ishkabibbles are always a great reason to celebrate this great metropolis), but because of the fortitude of its citizens.
The City that gave the world Marian Anderson and Patti Labelle, Jill Scott and The Roots, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince have been positioned this year to give the nation its next president.
Founded on October 27, 1682, Philly just celebrated her 338th birthday.
How did the people turn up? Many stood in lines to vote early. They not only went to polling centers, but they went in unprecedented numbers, participated in the mail-in ballot option that was recommended by the Democratic party due to the hazard of in-person voting in the light of coronavirus.
In Pennsylvania alone, hundreds of thousands of these ballots were cast. And some are still being counted in the Philadelphia area. These votes, in Philly and the surrounding areas (coupled with some sporadic spots in central and western parts of the state), could potentially push the Joe Biden electoral votes over the top, giving him 284 electoral votes toward becoming the 46th president of the United States. He only needs 270. At the time of publishing, he had won 264.
With 95% of the votes counted and more mail-in ballots coming in, Biden has surpassed the current president with 5,587 more votes.
His opponent continues to push fear and confusion, filing lawsuits to block the counting of approximately 160,000 votes according to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State, which could ultimately snatch a second term out of his reach. The stats are against him. The soul of Philly changes things.
Black Thought, the profound lead lyricist from The Roots, invoked change by pushing forth the many times the president has lied to the American public. The people heard that and moved.
Teddy Pendergrass’ voice can be heard echoing in the Soul of Philadelphia (as loud as the Liberty Bell’s ring), “The world won’t get no better if we just let it be …we gotta change it yeah, just you and me.” The people heard that and moved.
Ben Franklin, whose very ideals are embedded in the city’s soul, has cried out from history to motivate the people against 45 saying, “Ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation to the prejudice and oppression of another is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy…An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy.”
But what speaks more to the soul of Philly, a spirit that mobilized millions, was how they utilized the United States Post Office curated (if not created) by Brother Ben Franklin in 1753 and established by the new nation as an essential part of life in 1775. The current president aimed to dismantle the United States Postal Service (USPS) to impede voting by mail in this election in a willful attack on a fair and equitable voting process that makes this country a democracy.
Trump stated, “They [Democrats] want 25 billion dollars—billion—for the post office. Now, they need that money in order to have the post office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”
However, his fear mongering and blatant lies did not seep into those who have sipped from the Schuylkill’s well of liberty. The people were not thirsty for anything but change.
And perhaps that is what happened.
Four states are in play, Georgia (which is turning blue thanks to the efforts of Stacey Abrams, protégé of the recently deceased Rep. John Lewis, and her Fair Fight campaign to increase voter turnout), Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Of these states that are still tallying votes, only North Carolina has Donald Trump ahead.
Vice President Biden took the lead in Pennsylvania on the morning of November 6th.
Before taking the lead, the ugliness of the campaign emerged in the still of the night. The FBI detained two Trump supporters on firearms charges after getting a tip that people had come to the city from out of state to harm the volunteers actually tallying the votes at the center where the ballots were being counted. In a silver Hummer truck, these anti-Americans had guns and planned to use them at the convention center in efforts to stop the votes. Luckily, they were arrested and locked up. The plot is reminiscent of those men who plotted to kidnap the Democratic governor of Michigan for not falling in line with the president.
While the votes come in, and even after the recount, Pennsylvania will stand strong against those who “stand by” and “stand back.”
There will be a new president. Birthed from this proud state (only the second since James Buchanan in 1791), and his name will be Joe Biden.