My Grandparents came to Johnson City, NY in the early 1900’s humbled to find a job at the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Corporation. EJ not only providing them an income, but a home, recreational opportunities, medical care and a close-knit, loving community, built upon around a common bond of hard-work, pride of workmanship and love of family and country. As founding members of the First Presbyterian Church in Johnson City in 1916, my family’s religious life was just as important and integral to their well-being and the community. Family baptisms, marriages and funerals all happened in that grey stone sanctuary on the corner of Main Street and Floral Avenue. Five family generations have occupied the same seats in the same section of the church since then, only today, dozens dwell where hundreds used to worship.
In 1920, the grateful workers of EJ, led by my Grandfather, erected a massive stone arch over Main Street, right along side of our church. Built to honor George F. Johnson, the founder of EJ and to immortalize a great man, these words are carved in the stone face of the monument, words that captured the sentiment those grateful workers had for their employer: Home of the Square Deal.
In less than 100 years, the home of the square deal has yielded to the broken deal.
That hard work ethic has been replaced with the entitlement mentality. Personal responsibility has been traded for self-gratification. Love of God, patriotism and charity have morphed to love of self, globalism and the massive transfers of wealth from the productive to the useless. Government throughout New York, from the Governor’s office to the school districts, is completely corrupted and rigged to work only for those on the inside of the deal. Public sector scandals, arrests, indictments, trials and continued accusations of wrongdoing dominate the news. Accordingly, New York taxes are the highest in the nation yet the state fails miserably in almost every measurable category of metric as compared with other states. We spend over $16,000.00 a year to send our kids through schools ranking near the bottom. Property taxes are the highest in the nation yet our infrastructure is pitiful.
The once glorious Empire State has managed to create in upstate a burgeoning open penal colony simultaneously populated with those walking out of the recently closed mental hospitals, creating zombie-like scenes on the streets as these miscreants wander to and from Wal-Mart in their pajamas and slippers, transfixed on their Obama phones and clutching their EBT cards.
I can’t stand to watch any more. I drive by my childhood home and see the change and it makes me sick. The rot and decay is advancing at a pace that I think makes it impossible to reverse. I’ve tried my damnest to intervene, but no one seems to care.
My daughter lives in Colorado, loves it there and I’m on my way. I’m sorry to say that after 100 years of trying, this family is giving up on New York.