OP-ED: Bienvenidos to Philadelphia, The Cradle of our Republic
Ambassador Manuel Torres, “the first Latino Democrat,” must be smiling down from heaven.
He is buried here, where he died in 1823, on the Catholic Holy ground of St. Mary’s Church, not far from where the political scripture of our great nation was drafted, in that other sacred territory called Independence Mall is— in front of the National Constitutional Center, in the neighborhood where the Museum of the Revolution is going and the Liberty Museum has been for over a decade.
Philadelphia and, in particular, the section known as Old City —where a conversation among enlightened men evolved into a revolution and the creation of the most influential nation on Earth— is today like a living gallery where you can bump into history every block, if not every step of the way.
Like me, walking recently down from Market on 7th Street, and being stopped on my tracks by Thomas Jefferson himself, or rather my memory of him, at the place where he slept and got up early to draft with steady hand that fundamental document called “Declaration of Independence”, on the hot days preceding the glorious Fourth of July of 1776.
Here in Philadelphia, the enlightened city of the American Revolution that led to the transformation of an obscure village Philly was in the 18th Century —actually the largest trading city in the British Empire, second only to London— into the cradle of American democracy and, from therefore, the beacon of liberty this city has been for over 200 years for all of the Americas, Central and South, and also all over the world.
That is the elevated political pedigree we Philadephians can show off to 6,000 Democratic Party Delegates arriving to town this week, and 25,000 journalists coming from all over the globe to cover the political convention that will nominate the first woman candidate to the Presidency of the United States— a historic event on its own that will further enrich our both local and universal history.
Manuel Torres, the first Latino Democrat —as we call this Hispanic Expatriate buried here, known among his contemporaries as the “Franklin of South American”— is no doubt smiling down from Heaven.