In politics, one usually has to give in order to ask for anything. You want that city park built, be ready to donate. Want that new access road, better break out the checkbook. Need that street repaired, someone’s bound to ask for a “small” donation to the campaign coffer. By all accounts, this system of giving and receiving has been in play dating back to the Roman Empire and probably earlier. This may be one of the reasons Christ’s quip, “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” is so useful.
Governor Chris Christie may have utilized a similar thought philosophy. One day last spring, a member of Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election campaign staff came calling to see if the Fort Lee’s, PA Mayor (a Democrat) would endorse the governor, a Republican. When the Fort Lee Mayor declined, it is suggested Christie’s staff instituted retribution.
Not long afterward, a police commander at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, led a crew that set up a long, curving line of traffic cones at Fort Lee’s southern approach to the upper level of the George Washington Bridge. The cones funneled drivers normally served by three tollbooths into just one. Other drivers advanced through the two lanes, so tantalizingly close but suddenly off limits. Backups began, and soon much of Fort Lee’s three square miles became a montage of idling cars and collective exasperation.
The rest they say is history.
Political retribution occurs every day, in almost all levels of government. Here’s a sample:
- Mitch McConnell stated his top priority was to make President Obama a “one-term” President;
- The recent Government Sequestration;
- The “nuclear option” used by Harry Reid;
- The attempt to rein in President Barack Obama’s power to temporarily fill senior government posts without the Senate’s approval; and
- Government’s cancellation of unemployment benefits.
What astounds me in Governor Christie’s recent problems is the complete failure of Christie’s inner circle brain synapses to correctly fire. The fact that all this high-priced talent, loaded with many, many years of experience; to miss all opportunity to step back and look at the valley and:
- One, someone actually thought of this idea;
- Second, Christie’s high-priced talent actually thought this was a great idea worth implementing; and
- Third, Christie’s high-priced talent actually communicated about this via government owned email and phone systems (meaning every word is tracked and recorded almost forever).
I once said humility is a hell of a teacher. Christie himself has been called a mirror of society and is very like any one of us. Like Christie, we often fail to even acknowledge the needs of those around us. Some really believe they assimilate Jesus’ message. In truth, do we not simply ignore it?
Taoism lists the Three Jewels as compassion, moderation, and humility, later translated to Buddhists to be the ideal or highest spiritual potential that exists within all beings. Author John Stott stated humility is “the rarest and fairest of all virtues.” It’s also the chief human virtue because it’s the exact opposite of pride.
It is not external assaults on political ethics, whether by ideological, philosophical or religious rivals that have represented the most serious threat to proper and ethical government, it is that subtle infiltration of those who exploit the gullibility of their constituents that are most harmful. The bottom line is what really threatens the nation is what sounds ideological, what sounds biblical, what sounds spiritual. Those are the people who do damage to the church.
Those who say they represent God; those who say they represent Christ; those who say they teach the truth of life or have the right interpretation of this or that, present themselves as true ministers and teachers succeed in duping the gullible with false claims of authority are the people who do real damage. It’s done every day, whether it be politics, business, social media or even family.
We need to care for one another and distance ourselves from this selfish mentality that seems to be the norm in the world of today. May Christie learn not to equate humility with weakness.