I was in Philadelphia over the weekend for an academic conference. Between sessions of bearded Orientalists pontificating over the latest philological minutiae, I took the time to see some of Philadelphia’s historical sites. Philadelphia has many claims to fame. It was established as the “City of Brotherly Love” by Quaker William Penn, was home to Dr. Benjamin Franklin, and its Statehouse saw the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the drafting of the Constitution.
Sometimes I envy Americans their confident patriotism. The tours and displays around Independence Hall were honest (i.e. it was made clear that Liberty Bell only really tolled the liberty of rich, white men), but still there is a reverence and celebration that imbues these shrines that is to be commended.