Friday, February 13, 2015

What's The Difference?

Well I didn't know then, but I do know now.


It was just under 15 years ago, the last time a political convention took place in Philly. It was the Republican convention. I know, because I was there. I worked a summer job, the first of many, in Center City. 1601 Market Street to be exact.

I asked my father, why, on my first day walking through the glass revolving doors, were there red white and blue banners hanging from the ceiling.

"It's the Republican Convention," he replied.

Like I knew what the hell that even meant.

For me, the Summer of 2000 would be amazing. My job was basically a courier. I got to hand deliver envelopes and very small packages to various law firms all day long. The most thinking required was to remember what street Wolf Block was on, or Schneider Harrison, or what stop on the El the Curtis Center was, or which food cart had the best cheesesteak (Louie's on 17th between Market and JFK Blvd., obviously). The best part, I got to walk around the streets of the Greatest City in the World and interact with the hottest secretaries ALL. DAY. LONG.

The soundtrack of this first summer experience was Dr. Dre's "What's The Difference." It was off probably one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. Just a few months prior in the hallways and bathrooms of Monsignor Bonner High School one Kevin Orsbourne was hawking the boot legs of said CD, The Chronic 2001.

I'm reminded of all this, because for the second time in recent history, a major political convention is once again taking place in my City of Brotherly Love.

This time though? It's the Democrats.

As a courier of important documents and packages and other shit back in that sweltering summer of 2000, I witnessed craziness. I saw people in the streets getting beat up by cops, arrested, cuffed, kicked. I saw civil disobedience. I saw police restraint, and I saw police brutality. We cracked jokes in the mail room about the dirty smelly protesters. All this meant to me, as a nearly 16-year old, was inconvenience. For my El ride was slightly longer. Or I had to take a longer walking route due to a picket line.

I didn't know, at the time, what the difference was, if any, between what was meant of the signs that read "Bush-Cheney" and the signs that read "Gore-Lieberman."

But if I knew then what I know now, I'd have said fuck it and drop kicked that package I was holding and jumped into that protesting mess.

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