2.28.2008

Disenfranchised

Earlier this week, a teen was shot by a grown man over a snowball fight.  Mayor Nutter may proclaim that it's "a new day," but for too many Philadelphians, it's the same old story.  Tooling around the city, I see evidence of the deep disenfranchisement that too many people feel.  Quite frankly, the reason why others vandalize and I don't is because I have a loving family, a warm home, and a steady job. 

Not to excuse stupid, destructive, and violent behavior.  But I am convinced that if we can do better in creating opportunities for more people, we will dramatically lower the number of negative things that happen in the city. 

It sounds simultaneously obvious and impossible, but hear me out.  While it may seem obvious, it is not always reflected in our attitudes, as too often we throw up our hands at the depravity of humanity rather than figuring out what we can do to contribute to an economy that creates jobs and opportunities for all.  And while it may seem impossible, it needn't be, not with so many good things happening in the city that we can build from, like great universities and hospitals, a burgeoning convention and tourism business, and wonderful cultural resources.

In short, there's no reason people should have to graffiti walls or kill one another over a snowball fight.  Sadly, for too many Philadelphians, there remain plenty of reasons.
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