Not everyone peering in the side window of the Liberty Bell Center knew the view was restricted because of the (partial) government shutdown.
Tourists in the Independence Mall sunshine Wednesday saw a line and joined it, unaware that the pavilion had a large (but closed) entrance facing Market Street. If you are not from here, that would be an easy mistake to make.
Most of the people in the line were from out of town, some from neighboring states, some from as far away as Asia, drawn to the enduring symbol of liberty. I knew they were from out of town for two reasons:
First, they patiently waited in the line without pushing, or worming their way forward, or cursing. Second, no one blamed President Donald Trump for the (partial) government shutdown. In Philadelphia, where Democrats outnumber pigeons and Norwegian rats, locals blame Trump for everything.
In this case, Trump told Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that he would shut down the government and that when he did, he would own it.
After about 10 days, he clucked, reversed course, and decided, yes, the Dems were to blame for the (partial) government shutdown. I keep writing “(partial) government shutdown” because more is open than isn’t.
The mail goes through, and so do entitlement checks. Traffic lights work, as do the air traffic controllers, Amtrak, and the armed forces. In Philadelphia, what is open and closed is kind of a hodgepodge.
(Just before noon Thursday, the City Representative’s Office announced on Twitter that the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall would reopen from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, “thanks to a generous donation” from Visit Philly, the region’s official travel marketing agency.)
That’s where Los Angelinos Maureen and Roger Carter were heading, after the disappointment of the Liberty Bell. “I’ve wanted a long time to come see this," said Maureen. "I wanted to see it up close.”
“It’s bittersweet,” said husband Roger, who told me this was their first visit to Philly — and “the hotel lost our luggage.” He declined to name the hotel. Both blamed “the politicians” for the shutdown and wished many of them could be fired.
Next in my informal survey was the Eversole family, which traveled from Columbia, Mo., to see the Liberty Bell. It was not their first time in Philly, said Dave, a small-business owner, but it was the first time in the historic district with the kids — Grace, 15, Garrett, 15, Ty, 14, and Lyla, 10, along with his wife, Stacia.
“I’m a Republican, so I don’t blame the president,” said Dave.
“Why?” asked Lyla, who is probably a potential Democrat.
Eric Bridge of Orange County, Calif., chose to point no fingers of blame, but did not like the shutdown. With his wife, Liz, and children Greyson, 1½, and Harper, 4 months, they were staying in Manayunk, along with family members flying in from as far away as France and Saudi Arabia.
I figured John Meehan of Newtown was local. His Eagles cap was a clue.
He and wife Gay were entertaining family from Richmond, Va. — their son John; his wife, Alison; and their children, Johnny, 8, and Lily, 11.
His grandchildren wanted to see the Liberty Bell. John told me he blames Chuck Schumer for the shutdown, while his son blames the “Washington power struggle.”
Me? I blame Trump. Not because I am (partially) a Democrat, but because Trump said he would own it.