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Heeding by example


Today marks the end of the Democratic National Convention, meaning that, come late this evening, millions of Americans, with last week’s Cleveland-situated Republican National Convention included, will have spent huge chunks of time listening to plenty of platitudes and, one hopes, a few concrete plans. I cannot imagine the stress that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton feel in striving to convince a majority of voters what the better direction will be for this country.

I started to think about our concise expanse and began to ponder what qualities a candidate would need to have to carry his or her campaign to victory if South Philly were a country. Yes, I know our state has a governor and our city employs a mayor, but what if only our territory could have an elected leader? Here then, with apologies to those who have received the title “The Mayor of South Philly,” are characteristics that “The President of South Philly” would need to nurture.

10) A diverse appetite: For more than a century, South Philly has generated praise as a haven for lovers of Italian cuisine. While many individuals, including yours truly, could live on such provisions, I would expect our leader to have a well-developed interest in various foods. Not only would this benefit his or her popularity, but other numbers would likely benefit, too, including the individual’s cholesterol count if the diet is a health-conscious one.

9) A stellar family: Many elements define life in South Philly, with a strong affinity for family life being one of the most endearing. Any vote seeker would need to be tight with his or her relatives and to have begun to extend the family name by giving us an appealing better half to whom we can relate and an adorable child or precocious children to wish well.

8) An essentially controversy-free past: Hey, nobody is perfect, and it seems to me that South Philadelphians love those who have battled back from harrowing circumstances to make something of themselves. I tend to think, though, that such a tale of redemption would not make for a great candidate, as I believe the initial head of this fictitious scenario could serve us well minus any major missteps to his or her name. Lord knows we are dealing with enough dilemmas in contemplating Trump’s and Clinton’s foibles.

7) An appreciation for our history: I have known people who LOVE to stigmatize South Philly (I thank them, as they have inspired an upcoming South Philly 10 column), and, thankfully, their counterparts, those who love our location for its rich history, outnumber them. Thanks to 17 different neighborhoods, South Philly swells with pride over its contributions to the nation and the world, and all office seekers in my hypothetical alteration of our governing system must respect every bit of our backgrounds.

6) A South Philly upbringing: And what better way to generate admiration for our turf than to have a South Philly lineage? A native would certainly have our best interests in mind at all times and would surely take on our most pressing problems with a no-nonsense attitude that would melt the heart of even the biggest cynic.

5) A strong sense of humor: I have met my share of crabby South Philadelphians, often being bold enough to inquire what has rendered them so. I have also fraternized with legions of comedians, both paid and unpaid, and love knowing that so many funny people reside within our boundaries. I would love for South Philly’s president to have a comedic constitution that would help him or her to be the originator and not the butt of some memorable jokes.

4) A robust religious identity: I know that “religious” has become a word that gives people pause, but I would like for our South Philly president to have a strong allegiance to his or her faith and appreciation for a given system’s tenets. I would also expect for her/him to have curiosity and respect for other religions and an awareness of the power of appeals to a higher power.

3) A very open mind: I often feel sorry for politicians, or at least those campaigning for the presidency or roles in large cities, because their tasks seem so daunting. With thousands of potential critics residing in row homes, this imaginary guide must want to maintain an open mind, never pandering to certain groups or organizations in search of status. He or she should want to hear as many ideas as possible and not diminish the voice of those who secured the victory party.

2) A well-developed sense of practicality: We all know that Trump and Clinton do not stand a chance of following through on every promise, and I would love for the president of South Philly to have a well-developed sense of just how far a vow can go. South Philadelphians have long memories, so a loose comprehension of being true to one’s word would result in a few not-so-pleasant utterances from the masses.

1) A willingness to admit mistakes: Has anyone else determined that most office seekers are complete narcissists? How I long for someone to say that he or she made a mistake and intends to use the gaffe as motivation to be a better leader. A guy can dream, can’t he? ■

Contact Editor Joseph Myers at jmyers@southphillyreview.com or ext. 124.

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