One small spider: less than an ounce. One New Jersey governor: around 330 pounds. The governor heaves himself over to his desk in front of a class of fourth-grade children, and shows them how to relate to the minor distraction: He smashes the spider with his hand.
The children laugh and cheer. The governor tells them: “That’s also another fun part of being governor. Any bugs that are on your desk, you’re allowed to kill them and not get in trouble.”
What’s wrong with this picture? For some people, nothing; for others, everything.
From the nothing side comes a lot of eye-rolling. One such person writes that “Gov. Christie tends to follow his own muse” and that animal rights groups should “save their outrage for the sadists who torture, kill and abuse dogs, cats and other animals,” rather than “getting their panties in a twist because somebody killed a spider.”
Those of us on the everything’s-wrong-with-this side see a lesson in killing and abuse, and an OK from a national role model to young, impressionable boys and girls that:
- Killing small animals is a good thing to do.
- You needn’t even bother considering putting a spider outside.
- You can get away with violence if you’re a sufficiently important person.
- Being a governor means you can do things that for other people might be considered wrong.
- Killing is fun.
- Killing is funny.
A person’s character is best judged by giving that person power and then seeing how he treats others. In particular, how does he behave toward those who are smaller and weaker than he is?
In this 30-second video, the governor reveals his character very clearly. And we should feel bad not only for the spider but for the children.