Monday, January 16, 2012
I woke up this morning to hear my radio alarm blaring Oprah interviewing Christopher Christie, and Christie talking about how as a young student, he and his buddies used to steal donuts from school.
Steal maybe too strong a word, since he made his political connection with the cook and as with the rest of the big shots in New Jersey, he learned at an early age how to get what something for free other people have to work hard for.
He was trying to sound like a “real guy,” and connect with the rest of us blue collar workers by talking about things he assumed the rest of us would do, and that somehow, he could form a human connection with us, his position as an elite Republican presidential-wanna-be denies him.
Oprah, who wields power like a sorceress, seems determined to give him the national exposure he needs in order to make his presidential ambitions credible.
I guess an appearance on Oprah’s show is part of Christie’s job description as governor of New Jersey – but like taking helicopters to catch his kid’s ball game – Christie has a better idea of what we tax payers expect of him.
` He once told a reporter that it was none of his business that he sent his own kids to Catholic school, while as Governor he wanted to gut funding for the state’s poorest school districts.
This elitism flies in the face of his attempt to be a common man, when he’s always been one of the insiders, one of those people who gets put in front of the line as places like Club 54, but needs Oprah to alter his image so that he can seem like he’s one of us, when the last thing he really wants is to be common.
I still pondering this when I got to the light rail station at 9th Street in Hoboken and a smaller than usual train pulled in, and an army of baby carriages rushed into it, filling all the aisles.
America’s population may be declining, but not in Hoboken, where everybody seems determined to procreate – and as I clutched a handle to keep my balance amid the carriage, I wondered, just where we would find room to park their cars when they came of age.
Fortunately, most of the baby carriages existed in Jersey City in the area of New Port/Pavonia, suggesting a strong tie between the two parts of the planet I’d not suspected before, common culture that might well justify NJ Transit’s plan to build similar towers over the rail yards bordering Hoboken.
Because of the holiday, I had a longer than usual stop over at the Liberty State Park station, where I saw the security guard in the parking lot driving up and down the aisles – even though there were only about six cars in the lot.
I didn’t think much about it, until I realized that he didn’t stop.
It reminded me of the mountain lions in the Cape May Zoo that pace their cages in total frustration, except the security guard was clutching a cell phone and kept going up and down the empty aisles.
After awhile, I realized that he was running up the odometer on his vehicle so that later, he could report that he had toured a wider area than he had, and eventually, when I took out my camera to take a picture, and he saw me trying to take the picture, he pulled up into a remote corner of the lot, out of range.
This abuse of authority seemed to be something that lingered from the Oprah interview with Christie, this sense of privilege that allows people to abuse their own positions while telling the rest of us how to live our lives.
Here was a security guard charged with making sure people like me didn’t park in that lot without a permit, yet could run up his odometer to make his boss think he was actually doing his job. Here was my governor (who I didn’t vote for) was being interviewed on Oprah about his youthful theft of donuts, using his government helicopters to catch his child’s ball games, and telling us we have no right to know why he chose catholic schools for his kids while destroying the trust in the public schools his kids did not attend.
Does he punch out a clock on being governor when he goes off to campaign for his republican friends in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina? Is Christie running up the odometer when he flies to his kid’s game or appears on Oprah?
And who had to pay for the donuts he stole as a kid anyway?