Friday, January 31, 2014

New Jersey

With the possible exception of Idaho, New Jersey has been maligned more than any other of these United States. Not fair. More than a garden state, New Jersey has managed to assemble an enviable array of scenic and cultural riches within its borders. Many outsiders simply do not appreciate it.

New Jersey has mountains, seashore and historic treasures by the handful.  It is certainly much more than the New Jersey Turnpike, the frame of reference for the unknowing. The current flap about its governor and unnecessary closings on the George Washington Bridge (“Bridgegate as it is now called) did a real disservice to the citizens of the state. But let's pause for the moment to focus on some positive things.

Visitors to New Jersey come from near and far.  In general they enjoy themselves mightily, returning home with rich memories. People from New York State, right next door, have easy access to the northern end of New Jersey with its extensive beaches, the Statue of Liberty Park and countless other attractions. Those of us from Philadelphia, just across the Delaware River bridge, have always considered “Jersey” our second home. Going “down the shore” was part of our vocabulary.  Beyond submarine sandwiches (“zeps”, “hoagies” or whatever you prefer to call this delicacy) we share an affinity for cinnamon buns, field grown tomatoes and sweet corn.  Those of us of a certain age remember our teenage years on the home front during World War II, when too young to serve in the military, we spent our days in Ocean City, Atlantic City and other towns along the southern part of the state. Those were times when members of the Coast Guard and their dogs patrolled the beaches on the lookout for German submarines that might be landing spies. (From time to time they did just that along our USA shores.) Adventurous boys and girls hid in the sand dunes evading these patrols. Days of innocence and insanity to be sure.  These are just a part of my personal memories. Others have their own fond reminiscences of that great state, New Jersey.

The point of all this is to say that even those who are not residents of the State of New Jersey feel offended. We decry the politically inspired mess and inconvenience Bridgegate caused to so many hard working people. Equally onerous, we simmer at the terrible cost to the reputation of the State of New Jersey. It is reprehensible. Those responsible for this disgrace simply must be held responsible. Starting at the top, which is usually a very good place to start.

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