Some weeks ago I wandered more or less aimlessly through downtown Philadelphia with the goal of seeing some of the parts of Independence Park I’d never seen. I did manage to spend quality time in the Second National Bank of the United States and to look around Carpenter’s Hall and Franklin Court but I missed the New Hall Military Museum and Old City Hall because of the bizarre hours the Park Service keeps.

For instance, one of the displays in Franklin Court is a rental property of Mr. Franklin’s that has been gutted and turned into an architectural exhibit. It’s one of my favorite things to see but I only got a 5 minute visit because it’s only open from 11 Am – 2 Pm on a Saturday afternoon. Upon entering I was informed in no uncertain terms that I had 5 minutes to look around and I was, in fact, keeping the Ranger from skiving off early.

It may just be me but it seems that the birthplace of our wonderful nation ought to be more accessible. Ought to be a showplace, in fact. I don’t have strong numbers but I would expect places like Independence Park are relatively high on a foreign tourist’s To Do list: Shop in New York, see Independence Hall, go to Gettysburg and then set out for the Natural Wonders of our slice of the North American continent. If I am right, it is an absolute stain on the nation’s honor to see the subterranean Franklin Court Visitor’s Center with its mildewed carpets, broken exhibits and dank spaces. It is incomprehensible that we must surrender our liberty in order to see the Liberty Bell, or submit to absolute dependence on the judgment of security to see Independence Hall. It is unconscionable that many of the Independence Park attractions are only open for 23 minutes, once a fortnight in months that end in “Y.”

Why wouldn’t we make a showplace out of the places we have to share? These sites are important to the World. There men showed for the first time that We the People could take care of ourselves. That we could preserve and depend liberty. That we were responsible enough to live our own lives without the interference and direction of well-ruffed, inbred gits.

But I suppose that’s old thinking. We’re expected now to assume subservient roles to well-groomed, genetically engineered gits.

O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!”

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