The governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, has had a rough start to the new year.
He’s a man the Republican Party in the U.S. is hoping will become a candidate for President of the United States one day. But what happened recently may have put an end to that hope.
It goes back to an incident that happened last September. That month, there was a huge traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge, a bridge that links New York and New Jersey.
This wasn’t just any traffic jam. On a normal day the bridge, which spans the Hudson River to take people from the state of New Jersey to New York State, carries more than a quarter of a million vehicles. It has been called the world’s busiest bridge for vehicles. Even on a good day, it’s backed up and slow to get across during rush hour.
In September, someone put out an order to close some of the lanes to the bridge for four days. That created a massive traffic jam that “turned the city of Fort Lee (in New Jersey) into a parking lot for four days,” according to NBC News.
It has been discovered that someone in Governor Chris Christie’s office intentionally created the traffic jam to punish the mayor of Fort Lee and the people in Fort Lee.
The mayor of Fort Lee is a Democrat (the other major political party in the U.S.) and he had failed to support Christie when Christie was trying to become governor.
So Christie and his team were no fans of the mayor. They wanted to bully the mayor. And to bully him, they created the massive, four-day traffic jam that inconvenienced many people and was even dangerous, since emergency vehicles could not easily get across the bridge.
After four days, the head of the Port Authority, which controls the bridge, had the lanes re-opened for traffic.
There has been an investigation into what caused the traffic jam and it uncovered evidence that someone in the governor’s office ordered the lane closure. One member of Christie’s team wrote an email that said, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” She has been fired from Christie’s team.
Chris Christie says he didn’t give the order and he didn’t even know that someone on his staff had given the order. He said he is very embarrassed by the incident and he feels sorry that it happened.
However, many people are saying that whether Christie knew about the incident or not, if a member of his team would do something like that, the team must have a bad attitude, likely because their leader has a bad attitude.
Last week Christie issued a statement saying, “I am not a bully.”
It remains to be seen whether the voting public will agree or not.
This is an unfolding story. As the investigation continues, with thousands of emails and documents being uncovered, more facts will emerge. It is an unusual story and one worth watching.
By Jonathan Tilly
Being accused of bullying is a very serious accusation. If the story is true, and Governor Christie knew of the incident, what punishment should he face? If he did not know, how should those making the accusations make amends.
Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
The Grade 7 and 8 history curriculum examines the lives and careers of many significant figures and politicians in Canada. These important men and women were not only known for being shrewd tacticians and thoughtful strategists, but, at times, as bitter and deceitful individuals as well.
What characteristics and attitudes do you believe most politicians share?
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: ).
Grammar Feature: Oxymoron
An oxymoron is a phrase that is comprised of two contradictory terms. For example, “awfully good,” “bitter sweet,” “good grief,” and “rush hour.” The term, “oxymoron” is a Greek compound word containing the word “oxy” meaning “sharp” and “moros” meaning “dull.”
What oxymorons do you know?