Terrific Article about my Hometown of Roselle, New Jersey. Abraham Clark, who sighed the Declaration of Independence, isn’t exactly a household name, but is a fascinating character nonetheless. An “anti-Federalist” and a “people’s lawyer” you might do worse than thinking of him as the closet thing the Founding Fathers had to William Kunstler.
Growing up in a post-war cookie-cutter housing development so typical of 1970’s suburban New Jersey, I would often “garbage-pick” old bicycles, or parts thereof, and construct functioning machines that while not quite as aesthetic as my friends’ new Schwinn Stingrays or Orange Krates, nonetheless afforded me my single most important means of independence. My teenage friends and I would pedal our bikes to the extremes of our neighborhood, continuously expanding those limits with each passing summer until finally earning our drivers licenses on our seventeenth birthdays. For many years, North Wood Avenue, a heavily trafficked street just four-blocks west of my house, served as one of our unofficial boundaries, as that avenue formed the border between my hometown of Linden and the neighboring Borough of Roselle. Since crossing the traffic on a bicycle could be dangerous, and since the other side was a different town populated by different kids who…
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Click that little icon up on the left hand corner for the entire playlist. I had to break these videos up into five parts to stay under YouTube’s 15 minute limit.
Thomas Malinowski and the Seventh Congressional District of New Jersey represent many of the contradictions of the Democratic Party and American liberalism. The Seventh District of New Jersey is a wealthy, gerrymandered district that stretches from urban Westfield/Cranford (both part of the New York Metropolitan area) all the way out to the Delaware River and Eastern Pennsylvania. It’s always been a competitive district, but until 2018, when Malinowski won a very narrow victory against Republican Leonard Lance, the Democrats had been unable to flip the seat. To the east are Elizabeth and Newark. To the west are the blue collar and traditionally Democratic areas of Eastern Pennsylvania that Hillary couldn’t hold in 2016. Basically, the Seventh District of New Jersey is made up of the rich white people between the “white working class” of Scranton, Easton, and Allentown, and the black and immigrant population of Newark and Elizabeth. It’s “liberal” but only to a point
So what do I mean “liberal but only to a point?” There were no people of color of any kind at the meeting. It was the whitest crowd I’ve ever been a part of. Even though person after person at the meeting talked about defending Central American refugees against Trump, the current hot political topic in Cranford is keeping “high-density housing” (dog whistle for “black people”) from being built in a now vacant office park on the eastern side of town. Everybody gave lip service to supporting single payer, but nobody seemed to be willing to fully commit to fighting for it. As of this point, Thomas Malinowski is the only member of the New Jersey Congressional delegation to come out in favor of impeaching Donald Trump, and yet he’s a Nancy Pelosi loyalist unlikely to challenge the leadership of the Democratic Party that’s blocking the impeachment resolution he claims to support. He states that moving to a single payer system would eliminate most of our deficit. Yet he’s unwilling to come out firmly in support of of “Medicare for all” because a.) he believes the health care system is to entrenched and complex to change and b.) he believes “as Americans we prefer choice.” Therefore, instead of “Medicare for all” he supports “Medicare for all who want it.” And so on.
The overwhelming impression I got of Malinowski, a former Undersecretary of State under Barack Obama, is that he’s basically a clone of his boss. Even though he jumped up on a table like Beto O’Rourke, everything about his speech and style of delivery reminded me of the 44th President of the United States, and I don’t mean this as a compliment. In another time, in the 1950s, for example, Obama might have been a great President. But in 2008 we really needed a Franklin Roosevelt or dare I say a Bernie Sanders. Now more than ever we need a partisan leftist who will fight not only the Republican right but the entrenched Democratic Party establishment. Malinowski, while articulate and likeable, is not that man. In fact there was a point during his presentation I was so bored I half wanted Joe Biden to jump out from behind a table and sniff my hair.