January 24, 2023 In In The News
Delaware Needs a ‘Pick-me-up’
From: Caesar Rodney Institute In 1925, Delaware’s government anointed a state song, “Our Delaware,” by an act of the General Assembly. According to Wikipedia, “Our Delaware” is derived from a 1904 poem by George Beswick Hynson, comprising three verses, each honoring one of Delaware’s three counties.
After listening to Delaware’s state song, it seems to be very dated and lethargic-just like Delaware. You don’t have to take my word for it; CLICK HERE and listen for yourself!
Perhaps it is time for a refresh by adding a “state anthem” to go along with the “state song” and choosing a tune that better reflects Delaware today.
Below are my seven recommendations for consideration for a “state anthem” from a few existing songs created by four Delaware-related artists! I hope you will give them a listen.
- Delaware-born artist George Thorogood’s “Delaware Slide“ captures precisely what has been happening in Delaware – it is sliding down. Delaware’s economy has been suffering 1970’s era stagflation over the last 18 months. Furthermore, Delaware’s smaller businesses have been strangled by government regulations and seriously harmed by Delaware’s painful Gross Receipts Tax. It is the “Delaware Slide” in real time.
- George Thorogood’s “House Rent Blues” presents a realistic description of life faced by many Delawareans. Delaware has a serious affordable housing crisis along with lower employment today than before COVID-19 (See Chart nearby). As an added benefit, the last half of the song describes the protagonist’s efforts at self-medication through drinking. Sadly, Delaware’s problem is not so much alcohol as it is drug overdoses. See below graph: 463,600 Non-farm jobs as of October 2022 versus 469,500 as of March 2020, according to the Delaware Dept of Labor.
- Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” Bob Marley’s mother was a long time Delaware resident, although I’m not sure he spent much time here. His music maintains universal and global appeal – something Delaware clearly lacks. In “Three Little Birds,” each bird could be a substitute for one of our three Counties; however, the song is probably rightly considered Jamaican property. Rats!
- Bob Marley’s “Exodus“ might be a great secondary option because, between 2010 and 2020, Delaware’s 18 to 24 year old population declined by 9.0%. Quite an exodus!
- Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher.” The great Cab Calloway spent the last years of his life in Delaware. This hit song reflects the growth in government transfer payments in Delaware, which have grown by almost 400% from 2002 to 2020 – 20% faster than the national average. In addition, as shown in the graph below, Delaware’s workforce participation is lower today than at any other time since the federal government began tracking the statistic (with one COVID-19 related exception). Too many Delawareans are forced to mooch off the State rather than participate in the workforce and economy.
- Cab Calloway’s “The Hi-De-Ho Man (That’s Me).“ This song is one of the greatest call-and-response songs ever performed. Given that New Castle County’s (NCC) economy is smaller today than it was 20 years ago. Maybe the NCC government could respond to the call of success of Sussex County’s economic growth. Comparison of County, State, and National economic growth in constant dollars for Delaware (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis).
- David Bromberg’s “Sharon.” Any potential list of artists would be incomplete without David Bromberg, who performs/tours often and has a luthier shop in Wilmington. The song “Sharon” can be interpreted as an allegory about the seduction of power. The audience members depicted in the song could be seen as Delaware’s elected officials losing themselves in their backroom deals. Delaware needs transparency in public education and needs an update to the antiquated 1970s FOIA process.
No list would be complete without these four artists and the seven specific songs. I hope these selections will generate some thoughts and laughs. However, I am sure I have missed some other obvious choices, and I hope that CRI readers might come up with their own examples and share them on social media.
Delaware’s future “state anthem” should reflect Delaware as it is today while connecting to artists who have a connection to the State.