CNN Host S.E. Cupp suggested Chris Christie, the embattled New Jersey governor, should resign should it turn out he was involved with the controversy dubbed “trafficgate.” She offered the very cynical explanation that in doing so he could salvage his reputation, even be able to paint himself as a martyr and hero, should he do so, paving the way for a 2016 Presidential run. I do not know what makes me more sick, that this happened, or that someone could have such a cold-hearted response to it.
I have not been able to read everything written about this brouhaha yet, but I have yet to notice anything about the real outrage in all of this. Everyone is, of course rightful, indignant that Governor Christie may have abused his office. I am myself upset that he is passing the buck. Even if he did not give the orders himself, he put in control people who would act this way on his behalf. That, however, is still not the real problem.
The real problem, the thing I have not seen mentioned at all, is how this act put lives at risk. In closing off traffic on such a major traffic artery, the architects of this bit of political vendetta made work difficult for first responders. They risked the lives of people who may have been late for doctors appointments, of kids on school busses not exactly known for their climate control. They threatened the livelihood of small businesses that rely on that traffic. I am sure there are other consequences I am missing here.
Abuse of power is nothing new. Neither is such abuse at the expense of the “little” people caught in the crossfire of the politically ambitious. Too often we treat these acts like some entertaining soap opera, and we take our sides and give no thought about just what these dramas really mean. We point and laugh at the buffoons on the stage and cheer our preferred “heroes”and let ourselves remain ignorant to the damage being done. We forget, unless it directly affects us, the outcome for the dozens, hundreds, thousands, and sometimes millions of lives upended simply because two people dislike each other. Our ignorance is approval.
So the next time something like this happens, regardless of which party is at fault, rather than reach into your reserve of political slogans and party jingos, reach intro your reserve of humanity. Remember how continuing these stupid games hurts so very many. Remember that politics have real world effects. Remember the real reason people like Chris Christie should resign.