Chris Christie's Use of "Readier" and Other Lessons Our Kids Can Learn from the Governor's MistakesMeredith Carroll
Oy, Chris Christie. Just, oy.
I’m not the most honest person in the world nor have I ever not made a mistake (on the contrary; and then some, times infinity). There are times that I wished I’d come clean a lot sooner than I did. But I’m hardly alone, as there’s nary a single documented case in history — especially in the age of the Internet — in which the cover-up hasn’t been worse than the crime.
Admit it, own it, apologize and move on. Hopefully, anyway. It’s what we’ve learned time and again. Right? Right? Well, most of us, anyway.
Sometimes the crimes committed — and their subsequent cover-ups — are too egregious to look past. But you never know; you may get lucky and be forgiven. (Mark Sanford, anyone?)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie doesn’t seem to have that kind of luck in him, however. At least not lately, anyway. He was all a “rising star” in the Republican party not so long ago and considered a frontrunner for the White House in 2016. He stood up against Superstorm Sandy. He ignored his colleagues who said he shouldn’t praise President Obama and the work done by the federal government on behalf of his beleaguered state following the storm of the century, despite it coinciding with a hotly contested presidential election.
He was, for a time, his party’s great hope. Then Bridgegate happened and it’s just been one thing after another, and not in a good way. In the worst kind of way, actually.
Now the man who could do no wrong can really do no right. I’m not sure that I was ever voting for him, but then he went and said this scandal has made him “readier” to be president, and now I know that I have a sworn duty to never, ever vote for him. Ever.
My 5-year-old daughter asked me yesterday what “ain’t” means. I told her it means if you use that word, you don’t sound very smart.
I don’t think I’m too big a snob about these things (although I am a professional writer married to a newspaper editor, so that probably doesn’t help). But I do project certain expectations of intelligence onto my nation’s leaders, such as (A) knowing the difference between an actual word and gibberish, and (B) being able to rattle off at least a few publications that you read without hesitation (thereby proving that you can can, in fact, read).
In my book, you are a non-starter without both of those. It should really be a no-brainer. At the very least, though, I am grateful to Christie at this point for giving me a little push to reinforce certain facts of life to my kids that I had previously taken for granted they would just know. In fact, his entire performance over the past few weeks is awash in lessons for little ones.
1) If you’re not sure what a word means, don’t use it. Very few people can get away with uttering made-up words and other grammatical mishaps. And even then, they’re likely on a reality show in which they have no qualms about getting a bikini wax on the air. Aim higher.
2) Payback is a b*tch. It’s OK to get mad, but getting even hardly ever works out the way you want it to. Just look at what happened in Downton Abbey (Season 4, Episode 3) to poor Daisy when Alfred opened the door on Ivy and Jimmy sneaking a smooch in the boot room. D’oh!
3) Nobody likes a bully. Strong-arming people may seem like the best, easiest or fastest way to get things done, but you’ll really only get away with it for so long. In the end, people are most apt to go along with your ideas if you act kindly, compassionately and are willing to listen to the other side and admit when your way isn’t always the best way. Using your literal or figurative muscle will get you attention, but in the wrong way.
4) Too much information is probably not the best idea. Transparency is good, sure. But when you’re supposed to be important and powerful, having people picture you in your pajamas or at the gym is not in your best interest unless you’re a Playboy Bunny. When people want you to disclose something, go ahead and edit out some of the details that really aren’t pertinent.
5) As George Washington said, “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” The bridge traffic was bad enough. Everything that came out of Christie’s mouth after it? Nothing more than pollution that even the New Jersey Turnpike thinks is excessive.
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