Posted July 22, 2016
With Democrats set to take center stage for their national convention, thoughts turn to Philadelphia – the City of Brotherly Love (that once booed Santa Claus!) and where Rocky trained by slugging sides of beef. Philly is Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. It’s Benjamin Franklin, W.C. Fields and Kobe Bryant. And it’s cheesesteaks:
Democrats will gather at Wells Fargo Arena in South Philly – nearly 4,500 delegates led by contingents from California (476), New York (277), Florida (238) and Texas (237). As was the case in Cleveland, energy will keep the show running.
Delegates will be glad for modern transportation that gets them to and from the arena, on excursions to the Betsy Ross house, the Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s famous steps – decorated for the convention with one of the 57 painted fiberglass donkeys scattered around town, representing the 50 states, five U.S. territories (Guam pictured), the District of Columbia and Democrats Abroad.
They’ll also benefit from generated electricity for lighting, sound systems, Jumbotrons and modern telecommunications – a collection of new fangledness no Democrat could possibly have imagined when the party staged its first convention at The Athenaeum in Baltimore in 1832 to nominate President Andrew Jackson for a second term. This will be the party’s third Philadelphia convention, following one in 1936 to nominate Franklin Roosevelt for a second term and the 1948 edition that nominated Harry S Truman for his first full term.
Of course, you can’t go on about Philadelphia and Pennsylvania without mentioning two other things. The first is energy production. Before the Republican Convention in Cleveland last week, we noted that the U.S. energy revolution has been very good to Ohio because of the state’s Utica shale play. Energy also has been good to Pennsylvania, starting in 1859 when Edwin Drake’s well near Titusville marked the dawn of the modern petroleum industry.
Nowadays the prolific Marcellus shale, thanks to safe, modern hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, has made the state one of the leading epicenters of surging domestic natural gas production. Abundant, affordable natural gas is lowering energy costs for consumers and is the main reason the United States leads the world in reducing energy-related carbon emissions. Pennsylvania’s skyrocketing natural gas production pretty much illustrates the arc of America’s ongoing energy renaissance:
Now, back to the cheesesteaks. The long, crusty roll filled with sliced beef and melted cheese is the city’s culinary trademark. The sandwich dates to 1930, with hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri generally credited with the invention. The kind of cheese depends on the eater, but Cheez Whiz probably is the most popular. Very important – ya gotta know how ta order:
First, what kind of cheese do you want? (Whiz? Provolone? American?) Second, do you want onions? (“Whiz wit?”) The correct way to respond is “Wit” for “Yes, I would like Whiz and onions,” or “Widout” for “No, just the cheese.” Then, ask for any other toppings or condiments you desire. Be forewarned: Lines are long, patience is tested, and if you don’t have your order and money ready to go, you might be sent to the back of the queue.
So, enjoy the Democratic convention, perhaps paying homage to the host city by having the most authentic Philly cheesesteak you can find. And give a thought to the energy powering the events in Philadelphia – from the first welcome video to the last balloon drop. It takes energy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.