Cheesesteaks and Politics: What’s the beef?

A Philadelphia Cheesteak ……It’s So Good! Photo: Lee Gleiser

Frank Oliviera Owner of Pat’s King of Steaks Photo: Lee Gleiser

There was a commercial that aired long ago for a famous hamburger chain featuring a feisty grandmotherly woman. She ran around asking, “Where’s the Beef?” She sold a lot of sandwiches!

Well, in an all too rare occasion at this political convention, I had the opportunity to leave the Wells Fargo Center and eat dinner.  The meal of choice? A Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwich of course!

My appetite had been whetted after an interview with Frank Oliviera, the owner of Pat’s King of Steaks. Pat’s is an institution in Philadelphia. And as Frank explained the secrets of his success, the proper etiquette for ordering, and invited us to “taste the goodness,” my stomach started to rumble.

What I didn’t expect, as I sat down to my long anticipated dinner, was to stumble upon four young men having a deep political conversation. One was white, three were black and all the young men were in their early twenties. They were discussing the frustration they
feel about their political choices.

We all witnessed what happened last night on the convention floor. Hillary accepted the DNC’s nomination and became the first female presidential candidate in the history of the United States. Perhaps just as important,  Bernie Sanders asked to suspend the rules and gave all of his votes to Hillary, making her the party’s unanimous choice.

These boys weren’t too happy about that choice, and they weren’t the only ones. Many Sanders supporters left the convention last night in protest.

So what’s their beef?

One of  boys, who is black,  stated  that he was very concerned about the deception of the DNC. A recent leak by Wikileaks of 19,000 DNC internal emals revealed the game had been rigged. And this boy felt duped. He didn’t trust Hillary, and he doesn’t want to vote for her. But when he told his mother he was voting for Trump, she got  angry with him feeling he was betraying his people.  So does he vote his conscience and bear being ostracized, or go with the “party line?” We are down to two choices, Hillary or Trump, and he doesn’t like either.

And that’s the beef.

Whether it is in a Philly cheesteak or in the Wells Fargo Center. People want to “taste the goodness,” but they aren’t sure where to find it.

If you were to ask Frank Oliviera, he’d tell you it’s at Pat’s King of Steaks. But if you are a member of the voting public, where do you look?




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