In the Eyes of the Beholder

Yesterday Bill Clinton, and later John Kerry himself, were here campaigning for the Kerry/Edwards ticket. There was a big rally in and around Love Plaza, which I usually walk through to get to Al's office; yesterday I was turned away by the crowds at 17th Street, about a block and a half away. It was good to see so many supporters of the Democratic ticket earnestly doing their parts to cheer on the nominee and the former President.

In addition to the crowds of supporters, there were also zillions of policemen. I want to like the police in Philadelphia, I really do—but my few experiences with them so far have left a bad taste in my mouth. The main tone-setter was the incident that happened about a month after we moved out here: In attempting to cross Broad Street, a large, divided avenue where that day traffic was being directed by two cops, the first cop signalled us to cross after we'd waited more than five minutes with no walk signal in sight. We made it to the median (about 8 of us, plus at least one baby in a stroller), where the other cop pointedly ignored us until I finally said, in what I thought was a jovial tone, "little help here?"

The cop pointed to the "don't walk" signal without looking at us and said, "that's what you get for crossing against the light." Several of us spoke up at once, "But the other cop told us to go!" This cop then shouted at us, "No he didn't!", which was (a) merely an assumption on his part, and (b) patently false. He then muttered something about stupid tourists, and Al said, "what did you say?" He replied, "I said go back where you came from, asshole!" Yep, that's our friendly Philadelphia cop for you. Way to make us feel welcome, buddy!

So anyway, back to yesterday. There were policemen everywhere (and Secret Service, I'm sure, though I didn't spot any): some directing traffic and pedestrians with a slight overuse of the whistle, some sitting in their cars with the engines running, and some milling about in small groups, chatting. Al passed one of these groups as he walked in to work, and he overheard a snippet of their conversation:

"Who you voting for?"
"Me? Bush."
"Yeah, I'm a Bush guy."
"Yeah, you can see it in his eyes."

When Al related this conversation, I was like, "see what in his eyes, exactly?" The vacuous gaze of a Texas steer? The look that says, "I'm in over my head"? A resolve to stick to his guns against all reason? "Leadership, apparently," said Al. "They said something about the fact that he was a leader." OK, for the sake of argument, he's a leader. But hello, do you like where he's leading you?

Al remarked that he'd so wanted to stop and say, "did you know that Kerry has the endorsement of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers? That he voted to put 100,000 more cops on the street and supported the ban on assault weapons? That he has the support of the Boston Police for refusing to cross their picket line in Boston?", but he didn't. No sense provoking another "asshole" remark from a bunch of guys who, like our current President, obviously value gut feeling (or a vapid stare) over logic and truth.

Posted by Lori in philadelphia and politics at 10:04 AM on October 26, 2004

Comments (2)

Boys with guns, whadcha expect?


I just had an experience similar to this with girls with goes both ways!


Boys with guns, whadcha expect?

Posted by: Stephen at October 26, 2004 10:35 AM

I just had an experience similar to this with girls with goes both ways!

Posted by: Josie at October 26, 2004 11:08 AM

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