September 17th has always been an important date for me. As a student, I learned that September 17, 1787 was the day Congress ratified the Constitution, which I now realize is much more important than the Declaration of Independence. Declaring our freedom from foreign tyranny was both daring and difficult, but securing that freedom against tyrants of the domestic order was even more so. That our Founders did this without bloodshed (and apparently to a very jazzy rapper’s beat) guaranteed that almost two and a half centuries later, we would venerate these men as secular saviors.
Flash forward exactly two hundred years, and September 17, 1987 was the day that I was sworn in as an attorney in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I remember the moment as Judge James R. Cavanaugh of the Superior Court, my mentor and boss, administered the most sacred oath I will ever take. And then he broke out the champagne.
And then, on September 17, 2019, a media site went live — one that honors the efforts of those daring Founders as well as the profession I embraced as my life’s work over three decades ago: Broad + Liberty.
I could tell you that this website is important because it provided (and still provides) a clearinghouse for voices that you are not likely to hear on a regular basis in this bluest of blue regions. I could tell you that it has allowed for the type of deep-dive journalism that you won’t get on blogs and even from legacy, mainstream media sources you may read regularly. I could tell you that Broad + Liberty has championed views that are shut out in our progressive city, recognized that most people do not support the philosophy and practices of District Attorney Larry Krasner, demanded transparency from state officials like Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine (when no other media outlets were doing so, for fear of attacking “their side” or siding with the Trump administration) and challenged Mayor Jim Kenney’s misplaced priorities (remove an inanimate statue from Marconi Plaza, but let animate and dangerous squatters wreak havoc on the Parkway.)
But I want to tell you something more personal. I have always been outspoken about my beliefs, and that has not endeared me to the more liberal talking heads and municipal burghers of this great city. For almost two decades I have fielded criticism from pretty much every sector, and I’ve welcomed it, for two reasons. First, it meant that I was being heard, even if my words were aggravating those reading them. Second, it meant that Philadelphia was still a city where alternative views could be expressed safely, without fear that they would be squashed, censored and treated as if they were too dangerous to be allowed out into the ether.
For almost two decades I have fielded criticism from pretty much every sector, and I’ve welcomed it… it meant that Philadelphia was still a city where alternative views could be expressed safely,
That changed in March of this year, when I was “let go” by a very large, widely-read publication in this city. “Let go” is a euphemism for “fired,” even though the editors made sure to note that I was not actually employed by the paper I’d written for since 2001. Defining me as a “freelancer” who had a weekly column that ran her photo and email address made it a bit easier to justify to the many readers who wanted to know: “what happened to Christine?”
And as I was trying to figure out where to go from there, in came Broad + Liberty with a virtual lifeline (since everything was virtual in those early pandemic days). The editors here made it clear to me, both on Facebook and privately in conversation, that they valued my opinion and hoped I would share my views with their readers.
Before this outreach, I’d provided one or two pieces, but it wasn’t until this most progressive of papers in this most progressive of cities indicated that my views were no longer welcome did I realize how important Broad + Liberty really was. It’s not just the fact that its journalism is of the highest quality. It’s not because the voices they carry are genuinely diverse at the deepest level — not just from some epidermal and politically correct perspective. It’s not even that they have stepped into a vacuum where other voices should have been, screaming truth to some very powerful people who were doing great damage to our economy, our social structures and our ability to communicate with each other.
The editors at Broad + Liberty here made it clear to me, both on Facebook and privately in conversation, that they valued my opinion and hoped I would share my views with their readers.
It is the fact that there is a place where those of us who might think differently, albeit deliberately, and who might hold beliefs that challenge the reigning progressive dogma of “justice” and “equality” don’t have to look over our shoulders and worry that there is someone out there, above us, holding a very large eraser.
It is fitting that Broad + Liberty launched on the same day that a miracle was born in our miraculous city. May it continue to flourish, with my profound personal gratitude.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. Her voice is welcome here. @flowerlady61
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