By Jack Engelhard
My wagering tradition compels me to handicap ahead of time, so rather than wait for the polls to close, here are my bets even as the numbers are still being counted. I predict Obama is going to win. If not, McCain is a shoo-in. That’s my prediction. You can take it to the bank – if you still have a bank. Anyway, along with the rest of New Jersey, I am voting for one or the other. Too bad there are no exactas as at the race track where they can be coupled.
I will not tell you about my choice in the voting booth because you might not love me anymore. (But can we still be friends?)
So why am I voting? I don’t know. New Jersey is a lock. New Jersey is deep in the bag for Obama. We are a Bruce Springsteen State (though he is not MY Boss) and we are a Blue State, which is not necessarily the same as singing the blues. (I’ve often wondered about this.) The question is this: Are we really a State?
I mean, on any of the major networks and cable channels, and even along our major newspapers, have you heard us mentioned just once? I haven’t. People keep talking about Ohio, Florida and our neighbor next door, Pennsylvania. The media and the men and women running for high office, they love Pennsylvania.
Nobody loves New Jersey. That’s because we are not a swing State and that is why we are a forgotten State. We’re too predictable, too easy. We put out like Paris Hilton. Nobody worries about us. We are signed, sealed and delivered to the Democrats. We are Blue. There is absolutely no risk of our going GOP. That’s why nobody gives a damn about us.
(Has any presidential campaign ever gone on this long? I hardly remember what happened before.)
I’m not nuts about being ignored. If only we could say to the rest of the nation, hello, you-hoo, we’re here, too, y’know.
We also sing the Star Spangled Banner. We also pay federal taxes. True, we are actually two different States under the same name. North Jersey and South Jersey – we don’t know one other. We’re hardly on speaking terms. North Jersey is actually New York. They root for the Mets and the Jets. South Jersey is actually Philadelphia. We root for the Phillies and the Eagles. (Yo, Mets fans! Guess who won the World Series.)
We even have different accents, north and south, but still, we operate under the same governor, and surely the same State taxes. (Oh boy!)
Spurned, scorned and neglected, that’s us, that’s New Jersey. Yes, we know the joke: “What exit do you come from?”
WE DON’T GET NO RESPECT. We’re the nation’s Rodney Dangerfield. I can’t even begin to list my State’s achievements. The Battle of Trenton was fought, well, in Trenton (Crossing the Delaware), and pretty much won the Revolutionary War for George Washington. Caruso sang and recorded here and Whitman did his best writing in New Jersey. The bridge that connects us to Philadelphia is The Walt Whitman Bridge.
Want names? Okay – Count Basie, Bon Jovi, Aaron Burr, Ice-T, Jack Nicholson, Dorothy Parker, Philip Roth – all Jersey boys.
Plus, FRANK SINATRA for crying out loud!
Did I mention Einstein who lived here and taught here in New Jersey, right here at Princeton, the nation’s top university?
We’ve got the ocean and beaches and the first Boardwalk ever built anywhere in the world.
I’m a Jersey boy. This is the house I live in and it’s great.
Wouldn’t that be something if we ended up the deciding vote? That could happen and then will you give us some love?
Go Obama! Go McCain! Go Eagles!
I’m Jack Engelhard and I approved this message from The Great State of New Jersey.
About the author: Jack Engelhard’s latest novel, THE BATHSHEBA DEADLINE, now in paperback, places journalism at the center of our politics, culture and war on terror. Engelhard wrote the classic international bestselling novel INDECENT PROPOSAL that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. Engelhard can be reached and his Works can be viewed at his website www.jackengelhard.com.