Rosi EfthimSeptember 14, 2013Uncategorizedboardwalk, cartoon, fire, Jersey Shore, Jersey Strong, Rob Tornoe, Seaside, Stronger than the Storm
Our friend Rob Tornoe did this. And it’s perfect.
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While I get what Rob is going for and appreciate what he wrote in his blog post that accompanied this drawing, I think that all of this “Jersey Strong” and “Stronger Than The Storm” nonsense is false bravado that does a disservice to the multitudes of people who are truly suffering as a result of these twin tragedies and every other problem that our state is facing right now.
There comes a time when people have to stop putting up facades of strength during difficult times and start being honest about how needy, vulnerable, and weak we truly are, because I think that as a society, we might be willing to do more to help each other if we realized how tough these times truly are.
One of the reasons why FDR was able to give the American people a New Deal and why Obama failed to give us anything close to it is because everyone back then knew how serious a problem the Great Depression was. Conversely, nobody wanted to admit how terrible our country’s economic situation truly was (and still is) as a result of the Great Recession (calling it the 2nd Great Depression would have been more accurate and a good start towards solving the problems that caused it and it caused) and ever since then Obama has continued to overpromise and underdeliver.
Chris Christie has been a master at using this “Jersey Strong” imagery to benefit himself politically, but even after all of the bluster to get our state the money it needed to rebuild, he has had no vision whatsover to get the most bang out of ever rebuilding buck and also rebuild in such a way that would enable us to be better prepared for the next storm. And as others here have written, he is quick to commend first responders when he can use them for a photo op, but he is even quicker to beat the crap out of them when it benefits him politically to do so.
This is not a time for strength. It is a time for honesty and the honest truth is that there are more people out here who are suffering and need help than not.
I also don’t share Rob’s warm and fuzzy memories of Seaside Heights. As long as I have been spending time at the Jersey shore, I have known this place to be a cesspool of trashy tawdriness, which is why that it should come as no surprise that when MTV wanted to sell mass culture’s perspective of what the “Jersey Shore” was all about, they hired a bunch of trashy people from Brooklyn and Queens and set them up in Seaside Heights, ignoring the fact that it is the exception rather than the rule for our shore boardwalk communities.
While I don’t mean to wish ill on the people who lost their businesses (although based on the little that I have read about the fire, I would not be surprised to learn at some point going forward that the Kohr Family set the fire on purpose for the insurance money) as a result of the fire, I would prefer it if they didn’t try to rebuild the boardwalk at Seaside Heights and instead allowed the area to evolve going forward as just a beach area without all of the commercial development, similar to the other towns to its north. Point Pleasant is close enough to give people who would have otherwise gone to Seaside Heights an alternative boardwalk to visit and maybe all of the trash will go to Philadelphia where they belong.
I know that Barbara Buono is not a gubernatorial candidate who has been willing to date to take a risky position, but it is not too late for that to change. She could start by arguing that instead of rebuilding the Seaside Heights boardwalk as it was, the state should assume control of the area through eminent domain, pay everyone with interests there a fair price for their stake in the area, and then expand Island Beach State Park to include all of the beach areas of Seaside Heights and Seaside Park so that they can become places that are enjoyed by people are far less interested in the crass commercialism that was the status quo for the area. A new vision for this area and the shore area as a whole is desperately needed, because it is only a matter of time before the next massive storm wrecks it again.
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