By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
It's one thing when an individual idiot shouts bad words or issues threats against political figures. It's something else entirely when those threats, even by implication, come from an organization that should know better. And it's far more serious, especially when there is no dispute about what occurred. The CBS affiliate in New York City reports the Bergen County, N.J. Education Association recently sent out a memo that included a hint it would like to see Republican Gov. Chris Christie--who is trying to get the union to agree to wage and benefit concessions that may keep the state from bankruptcy--dead. From the memo:
"Dear Lord this year you have taken away my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett, my favorite singer, Michael Jackson, and my favorite salesman, Billy Mays. I just wanted to let you know that Chris Christie is my favorite governor."
To her credit, the president of the New Jersey Education Association, Barbara Keshishian, denounced the memo in strong terms, saying "Language such as that has no place in civil discourse," and apologized to Christie for both the message's content and for "the lack of respect it demonstrated."
It speaks volumes about the state of political discourse in America that anyone would have thought such a message was appropriate in the first place. No one is suggesting that the American political landscape is not a vigorous place, more akin to the wild west than to an English tea room. But the ease with which such comments seem to roll off the tongues and out of the printers of people who should know better is still somewhat shocking.