This time he crossed the line.
By calling on the press to “take a bat out on” State Senator Loretta Weinberg, the Governor crossed the line of decency. Such violent language has absolutely no place in our public discourse.
Granted, the statement was uttered – actually, almost shouted – in the heat of the moment, and the Governor probably did not mean much by it. After all, he is known for making outrageous, provocative statements.
But his use of such loaded rhetoric took his bluster to a new, dangerous level.
The last time many of us heard the expression “take a bat” was when actor Mel Gibson’s audio messages to his girlfriend were released last summer – messages that revealed in shocking detail an abusive relationship full of hate and intolerance and violence.
Obviously, we deserve more from our Governor, and all of us – regardless of our political leanngs – should demand more from him. This type of language is not to be tolerated.
At a minimum, Governor Christie should apologize and use this as a teachable moment – one that demonstrates that even the nation’s most powerful governor recognizes and admits when he has made a mistake, particularly one with such grave implications. And he should lead the effort to inject greater civility in our state’s public discussion of policy and politics.
Following the tragic shooting earlier this year in Arizona, there was a national dialogue concerning the need for civility in public life. Elected officials from across the country and across the political spectrum spoke of the need to tone down the rhetoric and to take greater care with what we say and how we say it. Even Governor Christie himself joined the discussion, by rightly noting that, “In a civilized society like America, we have to treat each other civilly.”
Suffice it to say, Governor Christie should heed his own advice.