Saturday, January 18, 2014

Chris Christie and Tonya Harding

"I would like to begin by saying how sorry I am about what happened... I am embarrassed and ashamed to think that anyone close to me could be involved.. I had no prior knowledge... (When) I learned that some persons that were close to me may have been involved, my first reaction was one of disbelief and the disbelief was followed by shock... I know that I have let you down, but I have also let myself down... Despite my mistakes and my rough edges, I have nothing - I have done nothing to violate the standards of excellence... I ask only for your understanding and the opportunity to represent my country."

Those words of remorse and painful recognition of grave errors committed by close allies in whom the speaker trusted, were spoken in a press conference almost 20 years ago by none other than Tonya Harding. In "the Price of Gold", a documentary now airing on ESPN, Harding laments her damaged stature but adamantly denies her involvement in the plan to do whatever was necessary to reach the pinnacle of her profession.

Is Chris Christie this year's Harding, minus the sequins? Are the parallels in the public apology something other than coincidence? Is this the language employed whenever the path of wrongdoing leads directly from the hands of those whom you control to the doorstep of your house?

Harding's mea culpa was a mere blink of an eye compared to the nearly two hours Christie devoted to exhausting his vocabulary and all his listeners with many variations of the same theme. If Harding's performance was a short story, Christie gave us War and Peace. But the volume of words ultimately has no relevance.

How does one know where the lie ends and the truth begins?

In Harding's case, her "rough edges" were much more than that. She was not merely a star in decline, she was in free fall. This Olympics was her last and only hope for survival. The weapon taken to her opponent's knee was in keeping with her image and her desperation.

As to Christie, he did not need the support of the mayor of Fort Lee to decimate his opponent in the November election. He had pushed and shoved the Cory Booker coronation for US Senate to another day on the calendar to preserve and protect his insurmountable lead over an opponent whose name almost no one can even recall. There was seemingly nothing that could stop him from reaching the most elevated of heights in the Republican party. Yet his strong-arm tactics was his natural instinct and his proven tendency. He did not need desperation, he merely required a reason. He had taken a bat to the knee of  virtually everyone blocking his path, and Mark Sokolich just happened to be the next in line. The crime in that sense was much more heinous than Harding's.

One has to wonder whether 20 years from now "The Price of Gold" may be playing with a different central figure. One who clearly would not look good in sequins.


Anonymous said...

good one. PB

Anonymous said...

love the connection!

diane said...

Nobody believed Tonya Harding either:) Diane

El Ganso said...

Well said - wonderful connection - Tonya was recently interviewed and has started a new life. Perhaps we can look forward to Christie finding a new cause in life - becoming a champion of anti-bullying!