Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

Well, actually he’s a physicist, but that’s the slogan of a popular bumper sticker here in the 12th Congressional District of New Jersey. Rush Holt, the Democratic incumbent, won handily in yesterday’s election. I squirmed when voting for the Democratic senatorial candidate, Bob Menendez, who carries a whiff of the notorious Jersey political machine, but given the alternative (Kean, Jr., a Bush sycophant), the choice was clear. However, when casting my vote for Holt, I felt good. I confidently pressed the button next to Holt’s name on the electronic ballot, pumped my fist in the air and shouted, “G-o-o-o-o-o, Democracy!” OK, maybe I was more genteel than that, but that was my mental imagery in the voting booth.

Holt is a great representative. He’s wicked smart, has plenty of integrity and then some, and he’s a wonderful advocate for science. Congratulations, Rush!

Comments

  1. #1 JKB
    November 8, 2006

    I squirmed when voting for the Democratic senatorial candidate, Bob Menendez, who carries a whiff of the notorious Jersey political machine, but given the alternative (Kean, Jr., a Bush sycophant), the choice was clear.

    The concept of gentrifying NJ politics is anathema to the flavor of the state and it would have been disappointing to realize that NJ could be reformed into normalcy.

    I suspect that by your distaste for local NJ corruption that you are not a NJ native.

  2. #2 Jim
    November 8, 2006

    Over course, this is JKB’s version of “normalcy”, and that would probably include gravity working sideways.

  3. #3 JKB
    November 8, 2006

    Over course, this is JKB’s version of “normalcy”, and that would probably include gravity working sideways.

    My definition of normalcy is what I grew up with. As a young person that grew up in the Troy-Hills, Union City, Ridgewood triangle I found that wall-to-wall pavement, dingy gray winters, and crime and corruption to go with that famous Jersey industrial smell was normal and survivable.

    Frankly, I’ll admit to a sort of prejudice from us concrete meadow dwellers. We generally thought of true Jerseyites as being bounded by NY, PA and New Brunswick to the south. Areas south of that were ambiguously defined as The Shore and some mysterious flatlands and forests. We had little in common with those folk south of Edison and Amboy. They didn’t understand the normalcy of the smell, or the glorious panorama from Garret Mountain overlooking the Paterson industrial sweatshops on a cool winter morning.

    Maybe it’s just nostalgia though.

  4. #4 CCP
    November 8, 2006

    I used to teach at a Central Jersey public college, and JKB is oh-so right about the North vs. South Jersey parochialism that defines the self-image of the denizens of that benighted State.

  5. #5 Doc Bushwell
    November 8, 2006

    JKB, you’re right. I am not a Jersey native.

    My initial impression of NJ was that of the NE part of the state. One of my closest friends grew up near Rahway/Elizabeth, so my first impressions were derived from visiting her and her family in college. I was talen aback by Mercer and Hunterdon Counties: more farmland, woods, rolling terrain, and the oh so precious community of Einsteinville. These are a major contrast to the areas to which you & CCP refer.

    Yeah, NJ is benighted all right, but it doesn’t compare to the rampant and willful political idiocy of a certain sunshine state.

  6. #6 JKB
    November 8, 2006

    Yeah, NJ is benighted all right, but it doesn’t compare to the rampant and willful political idiocy of a certain sunshine state.

    First off, congrats on your scientist and hope you enjoy the smell wafting from PA. It can’t hurt that he’s a scientist and it sounds like he represents the civilized country gentility of central Jersey.

    Secondly, I think we accepted a certain level of corruption as a way of coping. Those of us associated with UGWA would never have been able to afford a decent stereo if it didn’t fall off the back of a truck. And we learned early that it’s not healthy to focus on the trucks unloading in unlikely places. Bargains are where they are.

    Our north Jerseyite view of inevitable government corruption may be characterized as gritty acceptance that in those days only connected people ran for office. The smart people already had a way to milk the system — went to college and stayed away from blue collar environs. The machinery of politics as I recall it had to do with day-to-day life of the working lower middle class and immigration interests – Italian immigrants followed by Puerto Rican immigrants during my time frame. But that may be just the unique POV from my paved tract.

    Thirdly, Florida is not particularly unique for a southern state to be singled out for idiocy. Despite having a very high Jewish population, as hard-working religious and moral southerners, Floridians take willful and perverse pride in seeking to lower their social IQ at every chance that’s presented. Anything else would be failing to take opportunity presented by the great American Democracy. How else can you account for Catherine Harris getting 38% of the vote yesterday? I’d even say that Florida should be given extra credit for effort, because it has to work very hard to negate the IQ benefits of the Jewish population (although some excuse can be given that theirs is not a Jewish population in its prime).

  7. #7 Suesquatch
    November 8, 2006

    Heh.I grew up in Staten Island, and Jersey began at Elizabeth or Bayonne and only went south. The Verazzano Bridge-inspired exodus populated Monmouth county. The north was what you drove through to get to the Catskills for skiing.

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