Bob Braun listened to Chris Christie’s announcement of his candidacy for the GOP nomination, and he was struck by Christie’s peculiar version of the “American Dream.”
While other candidates–past and present–spoke of fleeing religious persecution, tyranny, and privation to find refuge in America, Christie spoke of fleeing a racially-changing Newark for the comfort of an all-white suburb.
“The Christie family did not escape from English monarchs who insisted on a state religion. Not from revolutions in southern Europe. Not from the potato famine. Not from the czar. Not from pogroms or the Holocaust. Not from grinding poverty. The Christie family escaped from black families moving into the neighborhood–new neighbors whose ancestors were brought to this country as slaves in chains. The Christies did not face the unknown wilderness or the known hostility of earlier settlers. They faced the grass, the open space, the all-white neighborhoods, of Livingston, New Jersey.
“I cannot speak for people of color but I can imagine the pain many must have felt when Christie told the adoring and mostly white crowd at Livingston High School, “I’m here in Livingston because all those years ago, my mother and father became the first of either of their families to leave the city of Newark to come here and make this home for us.”
“Not Jamestown. Or Plymouth. Or Ellis Island. Livingston.”