Governor Chris Christie Takes Personal Responsibility and Apologizes

New Jersey Governor Christ Christie, 2011
Photo by Bob Jagendorf

6 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.

What is the Bible about?  What is Paul writing about in Galatians 6 and many of his other epistles?  What was the Garden of Eden all about?  True, we’ve heard over and over again about the two trees, but why were they there?  It was a choice, was it not?  It was a choice with consequences.  All throughout the Bible, people have actions and consequences.  The Bible is a book about personal responsibility.  If you get that wrong, the rest will be wrong.

Leaders have to take personal responsibility.  If they do not model it for their subordinates, then how can they expect it from others?  That’s why Christians must now learn to take personal responsibility, as we are in training for a much greater responsibility than any human can really imagine.

Today, we saw a politician, if you can believe it, take personal responsibility for an incident where the George Washington Bridge traffic was intentionally choked off in retaliation for a supposed rebuff by the mayor in Fort Lee, NJ.

There apparently are some unanswered questions, but he pretty much covered the most important issues.  Not surprisingly, we see that the “Feds investigating Gov. Chris Christie bridge scandal“, as there may have been a federal crime committed in all of this.  And, as seems to be the American way, there is a class action lawsuit being started over all of this.

Interestingly, even David Axelrod, former Barack Obama political advisor, sent out a tweet today, saying Christie “lives 2 fight another day”.  What is even more interesting, though, is the severe lack of rallying by fellow Republicans.  Some of the most guarded comments aren’t by his political opponents but from members of his own party.

Some say it is because Christie is not “conservative enough” in the eyes of the Republican establishment.  Some point to the “hug” he gave Obama as proof of this.  I suggest this is rather shallow thinking.

Not surprisingly, Christie brands himself as a non-politician.  This has been an abused tactic of many in recent decades.  It seems that there is an attraction of being from “beyond the beltway”, or being the “political outsider” or any such other synonymous term.

However, with Christie, it really does seem that what you see really is what you get.  I don’t think a lot of people, let alone politicians, know how to deal with that.  Christie is not politically correct, literally, and people don’t know how to handle that.

Yet, a lot of people talk about “being real”, but what they really mean is that they want to act without any consequences.  It doesn’t mean acting with integrity.  However, Christie has branded himself as the man who embodies both.

Does he?  Well, it appears to be a good beginning, at least.

I saw one news article that asks, “Is an apology enough?”  Huh?  Excuse me?  Let’s look at some items and compare them to some recent misadventures by the present administration:

  • Christie took action within 24 hours of news breaking.  He did not just mouth words.  He waited long enough to gather information, but he did not wait until it started festering.  He got out in front and in person, rather than sending out a high ranking aid with some cockamamie story about some video or even not addressing it at all.
  • Christie took responsibility.  However, he did not just say, “I am responsible,” but he acted.  He fired people.  How often do you see that in American politics today?  Who was fired over “Fast and Furious”?  Who was fired over Benghazi?   (Who was promoted after Benghazi?) Who was fired over the wonderful website?  Who was fired … well, I could write that all night, I suppose about the non-leaders we have in office right now.
  • He admitted that he was responsible and actually apologized.  He did not apologize that everyone else misunderstood him when he said there was nothing behind the traffic problems than a traffic survey.  He flat out said he was sorry, “embarrassed and humiliated”.
  • He flat out stated he did not know about it and did not authorize it.  He left next to no wiggle room.  Conceivably, he could later argue about what the definition of the word “is” is, but that goes against the entire vision he has set.  Unlike Slick Willy, his reputation was built upon an open and honest (and NJ brash) dialog with the voters.  To find out later he is not a man of integrity would be his downfall, and in the face of lawsuits and federal investigations, that is surely going to turn up.
  • Not only did he apologize, but he made a point of making an appointment to go and apologize to the target of it all in person.  Again, how often do you see that in today’s politics?

That’s why so many politicians in any camp don’t like Christie so much, I believe.  He is apparently a real leader, which most of them are not!

He also appears to be a man of integrity.

Those are two good reasons he will probably never be president, unless he changes.  It seems to be the norm that to get ahead in today’s politics, you cannot be a person of integrity.

God gave ancient Israel and ancient Judah the leaders they deserved.  They continually oppressed the poor, made slaves of each other outside the Law, engaged in idolatry and did what was right in their own eyes.  He cursed them with bad leaders for this.

3 There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled.

4 Thus saith the Lord my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter;

5 Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the Lord; for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them not.

6 For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour’s hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.

Zec 11:3-6

“America is not a Christian nation.”  How often do you hear that?  Yet, if we aren’t, then neither can we depend upon our leaders having the moral map that the Bible outlines.  If that is the case, then why should we expect God to bless us as a nation any more than He did ancient Israel and Judah?

“God bless America”?  Are those just words these days?


  1. I think part of the reason why Christie caught fire a few years back was because a large segment of people in this country are starved for real leadership in all walks of life and they sensed he could provide it in government. Over the course of time his popularity has waned some as people became more familiar with him.

    I thought it was interesting that he chose to stay out there and answer questions for a couple hours instead of just giving a statement, answering a couple questions and then scurrying off. Also the fact that he showed up at the affected area later was impressive. A cynic might say he is politically smart enough to realize this could be political death to him and it was the only route he could take.

    Even though he took responsibility a couple things stood out to me. First was that there was an awful lot of self pity in his statement. He talked about how sad he was, how he was betrayed, etc. It also is troubling that people that supposedly knew him well thought closing the bridge would be something he wanted.

    I hope his apology is sincere, truthful and that nothing turns up in the future to contradict it. Unfortunately we already have people in the federal govt who seem to think it is ok to wage war on their political opponents. We’ve seen the IRS openly used to intimidate and shut down political opposition and we saw plenty of instances in the last govt shutdown where things were closed purposefully to inflict inconvenience on people to get a political point across.

    It used to be politicians went after other politicians that they opposed but now it seems the new norm is to intentionally inflict suffering on the citizens like enraged dictators or emperors do when challenged.

    • Paul wrote: “I think part of the reason why Christie caught fire a few years back was because a large segment of people in this country are starved for real leadership in all walks of life and they sensed he could provide it in government….”

      I noticed you said “years back” but then switched to the present tense in “are starved”. 🙂 In fact, I’d say that people still are starved for leadership in this country! That’s why for me that this story jumped off of the page, for it seems that the more that time goes on, the less “leadership” we see from those in power, and instead we see much more dodging responsbility, corruption, “me first” and general uncaring.

      “Over the course of time his popularity has waned some as people became more familiar with him.”

      True. The honeymoon is over, as they say. Still, he has a certain appeal, however, so I wouldn’t underestimate how far he’ll go. I just think he’s far too honest, in-your-face and lacking in brown-nosing capability to make it to president. My opinion, of course.

      Still, a lot of “conservative” folk fell out of love, so to speak, with Christie when Hurricane Sandy slammed the east coast, thus giving Obama one last chance before the election to look like a real leader (i.e., another chance to play act the part).

      On a side note, but not off-topic, is that it was quite a “coincidence” that this occurred, don’t you think? Once again, in general countries get the leaders, or should I say lack thereof, that they deserve?

      Back to the current topic, though, I have to wonder. Would these same “conservatives” (actually, zealots might be a better word) have been happy if Christie slapped Obama? I am only being somewhat facetious here! The way that they talk, I actually believe there would be a small contingent that would have been quite thrilled with such a display of disrespect! I’m from the school that even if you cannot respect the person, then at least respect the office. Or, as the Bible says in a couple of places, God raises up kings/rulers, so honor the king.

      Remember when Arizona Governor Janice Brewer pointed her finger at President Obama, reportedly over the issue of illegal immigration? I don’t know what was said or how it was said, and I don’t know that she wasn’t respectful. Pointing your finger might be rude, but it is also often an automatic reflex that doesn’t necessarily intend offense. However, what does concern me is that some related the story with what I perceive to be absolute glee, and that is just plain wrong!

      I believe Christie lost his popularity more because of his show of respect for the President of the United States than because of any philosophical or integrity issues.

      5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

      ~ Acts 23:5

      • I had no real issue over his beachside moonlight, ok maybe not moonlight, stroll with the President. After all he is governor of a state that got hammered and needed federal help. Being civil or even groveling a little bit, considering how the administration operates, can’t hurt getting the federal help he needed. Those who were upset with him about that were making a political calculation which I couldn’t care less about. His state comes first.

        He’s had some previous issues like inappropriate use of a state helicopter as I recall and he’s squishy on some social issues so I’m holding off proclaiming him a great leader in waiting.

        As I look around I see very few that I believe have the potential to provide the leadership the country needs. Of course that is a sign of the times we live in.

        As I think about it though I want to amend my statement that many are starved for leadership. I think they are starved for it until it affects them.

        For instance virtually everyone to some degree receives local, state and federal goodies so that if someone stood up and said we can’t afford it anymore people would immediately turn on them.

        Like those in the 3rd world who dole the food and necessities of life out to their supporters our govt has pretty much co-opted the public.

        • Paul wrote: “I’m holding off proclaiming him a great leader in waiting.”

          I’m not saying you are saying it, but, lest anyone get the wrong impression, “great leader” and “better than what we have had” might have some overlap, but they are not exactly the same.

          Also, this crisis is far from over. All he’s done so far is take the edge out of it. It remains to be seen what he does next and how the federal investigation comes out.

          Even if he comes through it fine, though, there’s always the factor that being on the national stage can change one. John McCain is the best living example of that, IMO. He once was a “maverick”, not too unlike Christie in a that way, but his running for president changed him. Now, IMO, he’s just a bitter old man that needs to retire.

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