Saturday, September 26, 2015

Welcome To The Philly DMZ!

The Nutter out front should have told ya.
The Pope is in Philadelphia this weekend and we are staying as far away from the city as possible. While we did venture out today driving down to the main line, that is as close as we were going to get to the urban militarized zone. However, even though we remained a good distance from the commotion, the impact of the Papal visit reached far beyond the boundaries of the city. While this could have seriously impacted and frustrated our travels, thankfully we took notice of the warning that has been flashing across the television and social media all week and made sure to avoid the major arteries.

It is rather astounding when you really stop to think about the whole situation. While I understand the importance that this man hold in his faith and in the world in general, the fact still remains that his presence put a complete halt to everyday life within and outside of the city. Not only were those who live within the concrete boundaries forced to change their weekend routine, accommodate the masses, or get the heck out but those of us that live on the other side of the horizon from the skyscrapers had to adjust to the new rules that were in place throughout the greater Philadelphia area.

It has been interesting watching the constant coverage streaming across all major networks since he first set foot in the United States. It has been even more intriguing hearing his statements on various issues and his opinions on some aspects of our society. Of course, that is nothing new for this Pope who has been quite outspoken since the day he dawned the vestments and took his place as an idol of the Catholic faithful. Personally, while I appreciate his honesty on various matters, there are times when I get tired of his lectures.

As the news coverage continued throughout the day and I watched as throngs of people were herded from place to place across the city packing the streets usually filled with cars, I kept on thinking about the businesses that were forced to close for the event and the people who left their homes for the weekend ceding the city to those now filling every inch of grass, asphalt, and concrete. While the boost in tourism will certainly be promoted, it seems as though the people of the city are the ones who will be forgotten when all is said and done. The people who made this the place the Pope wanted to visit are the ones that have been marginalized during his time in the city and forced to accept the quarantine like atmosphere.

It is great that the faithful had the chance to see their idol but it is a shame that the people and businesses of Philadelphia were forced to put up with the limitations, inconveniences, and limitations on their personal freedom and way of life. I agree that this Papal visit is, in many ways, something that needed to happen but it could have been handled in a completely different, less restrictive and militarized way. Faith and freedom should go hand in hand rather than presented in an either/or fashion.

So you say you live over there... sorry, still can't let you in.