anne mikolay 2012 120Merriam-Webster defines arrogance as “an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.” Interesting! Seems there’s a lot of superiority going around these days.

As you know, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shut down the government Friday night after the Legislature failed to pass a budget and thus threw a wrench into many residents’ July 4th holiday plans. State agencies as well as parks and beaches shut down, including Island Beach State Park, where the Christie family maintains a summer residence. Today, arrogance was splashed all over social media in the form of photographs of the Governor and his family enjoying Island Beach despite the closures. When questioned about the fairness of sitting alone with his family on the beach while other New Jersey folks are not permitted to do the same, the Governor defiantly responded, “Well, I’m sorry, they’re not the Governor.”

In the words of comedian Steve Martin, “Well, excuuuuuse me!”

This is clearly a case of “do as I say, not as I do” and perhaps a bit of apathy on the Governor’s part. Surely the Governor realizes that closing the beaches to everyone but himself smacks of egotism, but perhaps he no longer cares what his constituents think. As he nears the end of his term, what difference does a bit more criticism make to him? Fairness dictates if the beach is closed, it’s CLOSED to all Jersey residents, including the Governor. Ignoring the shut-down edict sends the message that the Governor is not of the people or for the people. That, my friends, is arrogance.

Arrogance, however, is not limited to New Jersey’s beaches. I’ll say it again: there’s a lot of superiority going around these days. Much of it is centered in the White House and manifesting all over twitter, President Donald Trump’s personal playground. Recently, President Trump verbally attacked MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough. He next went after CNN by posting an edited video of himself punching and wrestling a figure whose head has been replaced by the CNN logo. “FNN: Fraud News Network,” Trump tweeted in what can only be considered a juvenile gesture of egotism run amok. Before the Trump supporters jump all over me, consider this disclaimer: This is not political nitpicking. Anyone who tweeted such nonsense deserves to be called out.

And I’m not nitpicking with Governor Christie either. I’ve met the Governor, and I found him to be a very nice guy. But, as the saying goes, it is what it is. And it’s arrogance.

Arrogance is manipulative, self-righteous, condescending, negative, and isolating. Humility, on the other hand, is strong, confident, compassionate, positive, unifying. A leader, whether a state
Governor or the President of the United States needs humility, not arrogance.