- The Washington Times - Monday, September 28, 2020

Washington Times columnist Cheryl K. Chumley is biking the battleground states as part of an ongoing series, visiting 14 states in 14 days to hear what real Americans think of the 2020 election. All of her interviews may be found HERE.

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia may be masked, depressed and a bit down due to the coronavirus — but it’s definitely not out.

There’s still a spirit hovering about the Liberty Bell; there’s still a sort of hushed awe while staring at the very buildings where the Founding Fathers hashed out America’s great government.

“I’m an American,” said Sabrina Pasquariello, born in New Jersey but a longtime Philadelphia resident, in an interview in the heart of Philly’s rich historic district, Independence Mall. “So I believe in our flag and I believe in protection of our country and I believe in police and our firefighters and everybody to protect us.”

Her voice shook a bit.

“That,” she said, pointing at the building that houses the Liberty Bell, “is special to me.”

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Biking the battleground: Canvassing America's voters

Normally, she said, the area would be jam-packed with tourists, school children on field trips and city employees on their way to and from work. But now? late-September, months after the coronavirus shuttered the entire nation’s economy?

Philadelphia streets are near empty. Pedestrians are face-masked and few and far between. The bustling, thriving downtown area of just a few months ago is largely quiet.

And sadly, safe spots have turned unsafe.

Homeless people, Pasquariello said, have taken over areas where restaurants once flourished; where diners once spilled into streets.

The local government just lets it happen, she said.

It is a bit depressing to see.

Another COVID-19 casualty.

Taxi driver Scott, meanwhile — he declined to give his last name — said much of the response to the coronavirus has been overhyped, leading to a city that’s unnecessarily economically depressed.

“I think this is overplayed,” he said. “The face mask mandates — beyond ridiculous. … I think [COVID-19] is getting confused with the everyday obituary column. You know, 10,000 people die in this country every day from old age. For the people who have [COVID-19], it’s awful. I’m not discounting that … but when it’s time to go, it’s time to go.”

Politically incorrect — but true.

And that’s sort of like Philadelphia these days: Politically incorrect for the anti-America, anti-police, socialist-loving Constitution hating crowds who gather in the streets to smash windows and toss bricks and set fires. But a true-blue taste of what makes America so great, even today: The clear bell ringing of freedom.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.


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