Good grief, he did it again. Chris Christie has put his foot in his mouth again. And, in typical Christie fashion, he lashes out at and calls his critics names. In his latest gaffe he says that (and I’m paraphrasing) that he’s sure that civil rights crusaders in the 60s probably would have preferred to put civil rights to a vote instead of being hurt and/or dying in the streets fighting for it. [This was his rationale for trying to avoid passing gay-rights legislation and wanting to put same-sex marriages/civil unions on ballots instead.]
The critic of his civil rights comparison, which most people with a working knowledge of the civil rights movement would question, was U.S. Representative John Lewis … someone who has a better understanding of the movement, its origins, its progression and its outcomes than most folks. Mr. Lewis was president of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1963-66; he was succeeded by Stokely Carmichael. He was a follower of Dr. Martin Luther King, and led the march across the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama (which, after attacks by state police, became known as “Bloody Sunday”).
Mr. Lewis clearly knows about the civil rights movement in a way that many of us today do not or cannot. He is a quiet, articulate man who has served so many citizens either in an informal or formal (SNCC, U.S. House of Representatives) capacity since the 1960s. So when he calls attention to Governor Christie’s inaccuracies, the Governor responded in a way that is not fitting for a man of Mr. Lewis’ experience, age, and character. He called him a “numbnut.”
Various definitions of ‘numbnut” range from “A slow-witted, unresponsive, or inept person (usually male); A recruit who is unintelligent or difficult to train,” to Urban Dictionary’s “1. Lacking intelligence. 2. Having no feeling in one’s nut”. Clearly, Mr. Lewis has repeatedly shown his intelligence (and character, imo) and, therefore, has “feeling in his nut,” if you define nut as head (as in bean or noggin). If you define nut as chutzpah, spunk, cajones, balls, gumption, bravery or anything else of that ilk, Mr. Lewis has feeling in that sense too. To call Mr. Lewis, who has for so long shown us what it means to be intelligent, thoughtful, passionate and committed, a “numbnut” is, in my opinion, is numb-nutted (and in a mean-spirited way).