Bridgegate and bullying

Bridgegate and bullying

Okay. We’re a local Jewish newspaper, and we agree that Bridgegate isn’t inherently a Jewish issue – unless, of course, the fact that the Bridgegate Davids, Wildstein and Sampson, are Jewish somehow make the whole crazy episode Jewish too. In fact, it’s hard not to notice that the three people who showed up on Monday to plead guilty (Wildstein) or be indicted (Bridget Anne Kelly, Bill Baroni) are representative of three of the state’s largest ethnic groups. It’s almost like the beginning of a joke – a Jew, an Irishwoman, and an Italian walk across a bridge….

But Jews sat in the insanely snarled traffic along with everyone else, and certainly Bridgegate is a local issue. It’s just about as local as you can get.

So – think about this. The New York Times reported that according to the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman (another Jew!), the three conspirators, working together like villains in Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew stories, with the same levels of malice and juvenile idiocy, connived to hold off on the bridge closings until the first day of school. Why waste the induced disaster on the relatively light traffic of late summer? They closed EZ Pass-only lanes, to make it even harder for drivers. They joked to each other about the misery they caused. They chortled over email about the joy they got in imposing “radio silence” instead of responding to the increasingly desperate mayor of Fort Lee.

They planned – this is an incredible detail – to have the lane closings last for a full month, and were enraged when they were forced to stop after four days.

This all was supposed to be political payback to the mayor of Fort Lee, a Democrat, because he did not endorse the conspirators’ boss, the Republican Chris Christie. But it seems more like a Three Stooges version of classic bullying. These jokers had power, and they used it. It seems as if the real reason for their use of power was the sheer joy they took in it (although certainly they are paying for that joy now).

We hope it is a long time before any other political goon decides to play chess with an imaginary opponent, using the rest of us as life-size pawns.