DEAR MAYOR-ELECT Kenney:
I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your surprise, come-from-behind win this past week. I know it must have been a complete shock that you actually squeaked by the Republican candidate, given the scrutiny the Democratic voters in Philadelphia always give to their own. Fortunately, after a lot of serious concentration at the polls, your tenacity and welcoming message to those who disagree with you persuaded the two unicorns who persisted in being holdouts to cast their ballots for you.
I myself did not vote, since I don't live within the city limits. But even though I lay my head down on a Delaware County pillow, most of my waking hours are spent in the 215 area code. Alas, not actually living in Philadelphia deprived me of the right to vote for you once, let alone the eight or nine times Philadelphia voters are used to doing in the same election, for the same candidate. As you might have gathered from my previous comments in print, on the radio and on television, it was unlikely that I would have voted for you anyway unless the Taliban had made that a condition of my release.
Still, I have to hand it to you: It was an impressive victory Tuesday. They often say that a rising tide carries all boats, and your charismatic presence, unseen since the days of Wilson Goode, helped usher into municipal harbor an equally bright and compelling number of candidates. People like Helen Gym, who is up for canonization by the People Who Hate Private Schools and Will Do Everything in Their Power to Destroy Them. There is at least one miracle credited to her already, and that would be her ability to make Milton Street look reasonable. Vatican experts are looking at other phenomena, but she definitely looks good for a halo before her four-year term is ended.
Then there was Kevvy Doc, now known as Mr. Justice Dougherty, a man who received high commendation for his professional accomplishments by the Pennsylvania Bar and who will never in his life have to worry about a short circuit in his chambers. I'm not actually sure if we are involved in a chicken-egg thing here, and whether you created the momentum or the momentum created you, but there's no question that Philadelphians put a high priority on getting to know all about the judges, the very important stuff like their party affiliation and who their brothers are and that your friendship with his brother was a big help. Personally, I'm quite proud to live in a state that chooses our judiciary in the same way that the guy at Wawa makes his fantasy football picks. None of that elitist, knowing what a judge does crap to cloud the decision-making process. Just straight, honest gut, tied to how many negative commercials they were able to get their relatives to finance for them.
But back to you, Mayor-elect Kenney. You've been around a long time, ever since you were besties with ex-Sen. Fumo, until you weren't anymore. You definitely have a Philly pedigree, and have been around the movers and shakers for decades. You also went to the Prep, so I have a soft spot in my heart for you, about a millimeter in width. Your Philadelphia cred is unchallenged. I would have hoped that this would give you a sense of affection for all of those who live and work in this city devoted to fraternal (and now gay, bi, transgender, questioning, etc.) love, but I fear that this might not be the case. Perhaps I'm jumping to conclusions, but it seems as if you have no time for people who just want to marry the girl next door (assuming he's the guy next door) and order a vanilla cake, or maybe some Chik-Fil-A for the wedding.
I remember a few years ago how you wanted to ban Dan Cathy, president and CEO of a fast-food company, from doing business in the city where the Constitution was written simply because he mentioned that as a Christian he opposed same sex marriage.
I oppose same-sex marriage too, and I work in South Philly. I'm wondering if I'm going to have to get a special pass to enter the city, or perhaps sew a star on my jacket so that I can be distinguished from the real Philadelphians, the ones who voted for you and who only eat free-range, free-thinking chickens. I mean, I just want to be prepared when you finally take office in January.
And I saw you on TV before the election, talking about how every Philadelphian has the right to reach their potential, and that the government has an obligation to help them with that. I totally agree with you. And, don't mention this to Helen Gym, but I was hoping you included Catholic school children in that potential thing. Because a lot of them are having an impossible time getting the education to which they are entitled and for which their parents are paying a lot of money in addition to the taxes they are paying to the government and for which they are receiving bupkus in return. I mean, it's not good to have a bunch of uneducated Catholic kids running around the street because as you implied a couple of years ago they might end up engaging in hate crime attacks against innocent gay couples in Center City.
So Mayor-elect Kenney, I hope you'll take this letter in the spirit in which it was sent to you. You're definitely not my cup of skinny one-pump mocha latte (somehow that strikes me as your drink) but I'm more than willing to keep an open mind about you and your buddies.
You should try that some time, too.
Fond regards, Christine.
Christine Flowers is a lawyer.