Honoring police in the Mayfair Spring
Mayfair is one of Philadelphia's great neighborhoods. It's not trendy, but a great middle-class bedrock and a great place to raise a family.
MAYFAIR is one of Philadelphia's great neighborhoods. It's not trendy, but a great middle-class bedrock and a great place to raise a family. It is an enclave of police officers, firefighters, nurses, teachers and small-business owners, and people who have proudly served in the military. It is small-town, traditional America.
Last Friday, on a cold night at its Times Square - the intersection of Cottman and Frankford avenues, where the Flyers and Phillies championships were celebrated by huge crowds of people - magic happened. In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, hundreds of people turned out in blue with signs to simply support the Philadelphia Police and law enforcement across America.
There was no blocking of traffic, no cursing at police, no looting, no shouting down of a Christmas concert. There was an open mic that allowed people to share their stories of how the police helped them in some way. The speakers recognized the officers involved in the fatal shooting of a criminal just blocks from the protest site.
The people also talked about the police working on Christmas Day, mentoring kids on their own time and their professionalism in dealing with the very protesters chanting curses at them and accusing police of racism.
They also asked the big question: "Where is the mayor and other elected officials?"
OK, I was invited to speak first and did ask, "Where the hell is the mayor? Are any elected officials here tonight?" I'm still waiting for an answer to those questions. Is a rally of citizens supporting police radioactive to our elected officials? Is supporting what the police do each day somehow condoning police brutality?
So, to all our so-called public servants: What were you all doing on Friday night that you couldn't show citizens that you support the police that protect all of us? As signs at the rally said, "Blue Lives Matter, Too."
The rally, though, was not organized by the political class or the protesting class in Philadelphia. It was put together by Donald Garvey, an air-conditioning and heating contractor, who was just upset with the lack of organized support for the police. He started a Facebook page, hoping to draw 25 or so people out to make a statement of support.
I had Garvey on my show, and I celebrate him as an example of one person making a difference. In just a matter of days, he was able to get speakers and a crowd of hundreds not only to rally but, by the dozens, to step to the mic and belt out their song of Philadelphia.
It was the national anthem of the silent majority.
People who make Philadelphia, not run it down.
People who said that they were just ordinary citizens, not titled activists.
These were not people blocking traffic on Frankford Avenue and demanding that people listen to their grievances. These were people who brought their kids and introduced them to cops as heroes. That's right - heroes who put on bulletproof vests every working day and a Kevlar professional attitude that allows them to protect people who often mock them.
So, again, why were there no elected officials to stand with this core group of citizens? Were they advised that they'd be seen as indifferent to bad cops if they spoke? Are they afraid that the protesters would target them and their offices next? Do they see the folks at the rally as remnants of a bygone era that is not hip and chic?
If they really think that, they should rethink their career. Being a public servant means you serve all of your public, not just the noisiest constituents.
I have the deepest respect for the people I met at the rally. I celebrate the fact that due to social media, Donald Garvey was able to start the "Mayfair Spring" in the middle of December. I hope in every corner of Philly neighborhoods - South Philly, where I grew up; Roxborough; Port Richmond; Bridesburg - other sections will see similar rallies. You have my full support to organize and turn people out.
To elected officials our mantra is: "Show up. We vote!