"Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the guru." -- Charlotte Joko Beck

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Telling it like it is

It’s been a terribly long time since my last post and I apologize for that. I’ve been meaning to write this one for a while and visiting my mother recently reminded me of the topic.

A couple of months ago as Hurricane Irene was trundling her was up the East Coast and residents were being warned to prepare, I called my mother in New Jersey to see how she was doing. I was staggered by something she said, something I never thought would ever come from her lips. She said, “I love my Christie.” She was talking about Governor Chris Christie.

Now understand, in the more than 52 years since I’ve left this woman’s womb, I have never heard her say a thing about anyone in a political office. Never known her to vote, or even have any awareness of who was in office at any given time. I didn’t even know she knew who her Governor was, or even cared!

So what happened that would get this politically unaware septuagenarian to proclaim adoration for someone she barely knew existed?

It was something he said in a press conference earlier that same day. Commenting on news footage he had seen on people partying on the Jersey shore despite rising surf, strengthening winds and ominous cloud formations, Christie said. “Get the hell off the beach in Asbury Park and get out. You’re done. It’s 4:30, you’ve maximized your tan. Get off the beach.”

This wasn’t some polished speech, clucked over and modified by speechwriters, press secretaries and a hoard of flacks and other hangers-on trying to preserve the Governor’s image and their own careers. The comment was raw and genuine. It was a gut-reaction from a man who was angry and perplexed by the stupidity he was witnessing. Because of its simplicity and authenticity, it won Christie world-wide notoriety as the comment was picked up by national press and repeated over and over again in international media channels.

What he said wasn’t profound, thoughtful, or even powerful in the words themselves, but it instantly endeared him to millions that had never heard of him before. So much so, that I believe this simple comment may have brought just enough attention to Christie to get the Republican party to try to convince him to run for president. He declined the honor, but now people are talking about him for a Vice Presidential bid.

I admit I haven’t tracked Christie’s career, his voting record, or his history of enactments in my old home state, but I’m sure he’s done lots of good stuff to earn such a high opinion in the party. But I think it was this refreshing, yet rare, glimpse of an American elected official actually telling it like it is that will earn him future votes.

Being genuine, being authentic, being real, and telling it like it is. Isn't that what people look for in a leader?