Now that the presidential election is in the past and Republicans are coming together with Democrats in peace, love, and understanding — putting partisanship aside — thinking only of the general welfare (see Amendment One cartoon for a graphic depiction of love at work) it is time to concentrate on that which unites us — the things we can all agree on.
Chief among those things is surely that Chris Christie knew absolutely nothing about the traffic catastrophe at the George Washington Bridge. After all, the governor has explicitly and emphatically so stated. Further, he has said it repeatedly. Every time he says it, it edges further and further toward the sacred realm of truth. Studies indicate that the magic number is exactly 2,467. If Governor Christie repeats his denial that many times, it becomes true. This is a metaphysical threshold, the crossing of which obviates all fact, all common sense and all sworn testimony to the contrary. The late Dr. Goebbels was referring to this phenomenon when he famously said “if you tell a big enough lie often enough, people will believe it.” And of course, once people believe it, it becomes truth.
Of course there will be those benighted souls who reject truth no matter how many times it is repeated. If you’ve ever tried arguing with a Jehovah’s Witness or a Scientologist, you know what I mean. Facts don’t matter in the least when it comes to TRUTH as revealed to a believer. In the issue under discussion, there happens to be only one true believer in the entire state of New Jersey and that could hardly be the governor himself, since he knows what actually happened. That only leaves his dog. I have no doubt his dog has utter and complete faith in the veracity of Christie’s denials. I presume he does have a dog. If he does not then… oh dear… that means there’s no one.
That’s all right though, TRUTH does not require believers any more than believers require actual truth. If they did, there isn’t a high school history text in the entire country that could continue in existence.
Our problem in the present political arena is not a paucity of TRUTH but an oversupply of the stuff. Once someone has their own particular TRUTH firmly nailed to the mast, then everyone else — everyone to whom a different version has been revealed — is an enemy of TRUTH and therefore a servant of Satan working to destroy the nation.
The governor has not yet gone to the extreme of charging Satanic influence to those who say, “We all know what a micromanager you are and that no one on your staff so much as takes a piss without checking with you first,” but his fellow Republicans show themselves willing to go that far. They did so in the presidential campaign and they continue to do so. Certainly the Duck Dynasty wing of the party does, along with the white nationalists, the immigration doom-sayers, the gay-hating preachers and the obsessed Muslim bashers.
At this point, there really aren’t very many “normal” people left in the Republican Party. Most of the sensible people who have some regard for fact and science have been driven into the wilderness.
In all this cacophony of ideology there is one thing to which we can cling, one shining truth glowing brilliantly in the cesspool of politics: Governor Christie knew nothing about the bridge closures. He has said it and so it must be true.
Toby Grace is Out In Jersey magazine’s Editor Emeritus.