By Jack Engelhard
I caught your show on Fox the other day, the one where you removed New Jersey from the map and I guess I was supposed to laugh but I didn’t. This is where I live and it’s as fine a place as any other in the Unites States of America – and maybe even better. Yes, I scan the headlines, too, so I know about all the arrests. I know there’s corruption.
Hello? From state to state, where isn’t there corruption? I could pick any state – the rest of the 49 – and name names but I won’t so as not to insult the good people who live there and who have nothing to do with pay-to-play. Where to begin? Pennsylvania, which just got through sentencing that man Fumo? New York? Does the name Eliot Spitzer ring a bell? North Dakota? How about Rob Blagojevich?
Let’s not even talk about Louisiana and Illinois.
Sorry to be mentioning some names but I just couldn’t help myself – though, if pressed, I could mention even more.
While you’re deleting New Jersey from the map, you may as well delete Enrico Caruso, the world’s greatest opera tenor, who recorded most of his music in Camden, yes, Camden, New Jersey, and be sure to erase Albert Einstein, the world’s greatest scientist, who taught at Princeton, NEW JERSEY!
Did I mention that New Jersey was the first state to sign the Bill of Rights? No big deal, you say, as you sit there laughing about our turnpike. Yes, we have the finest road in the world, policed by the nation’s finest State Troopers, but along with that we’ve got the Jersey Shore, 127 miles of coastline. Where else does this happen?
We’ve also got as much farmland as any of the other 49 great states – 10,000 farms, east, west, north and south.
We’ve got the fastest horses in New Jersey (Monmouth Park, the Meadowlands) and the most beautiful women. (I’ll take anyone’s bet on this.)
Did I mention Walt Whitman? If not, then I also forgot to mention a thousand other men and women who nourished the nation from New Jersey. In no particular order, here’s Jon Stewart, Yogi Berra, Norman Mailer, Denzel Washington, Eva Marie Saint, Jack Nicholson, Sarah Vaughan, Meryl Streep, Philip Roth – lest we forget Bruce Springsteen and FRANK SINATRA, for crying our loud.
Speaking of Hoboken (where Sinatra was born), yes I know that just the other day the mayor of that town was taken away in handcuffs for alleged corruption as part of that big FBI sweep. But Hoboken also made news in 1846. That is where and when the first organized baseball game was played.
There would be no United States if not for New Jersey. Check your history where you’ll find the Battle of Trenton, George Washington’s greatest triumph against all odds. New Jersey is still known as “the pathway of the Revolution.” More than 100 battles were fought on New Jersey soil.
So knock it off, Glenn. We are proud of our state. We are not amused when removed from the map.
The “Soprano” James Gandolfini (Ringwood, New Jersey) can’t be happy with what you did.
We, here in New Jersey, keep taking our lumps and yet, gee, I wonder why our trains, buses and turnpikes are so packed with people heading in our direction? Over the weekend I couldn’t even find a spot in the sand for all the crowds – from around the nation and world – using up our beach.
Did I mention Sinatra?
About the author: Jack Engelhard wrote the 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’s latest published books are “The Bathsheba Deadline” and “The Girls of Cincinnati.” He can be reached at his website www.jackengelhard.com