Now I know you all have been wondering to yourselves, “Where’s the religious angle in the Great Christie Bridge Lane-Closing Scandal?” Well here it is, straight from a guy who grew up in the Garden State.
What you need to understand is that New Jersey’s two most important cities are New York and Philadelphia, and that getting in and out of them across bodies of water is of existential significance to the residents of the state. Messing with access lanes is messing with New Jersey’s lifeblood.
But there’s much more to it than that, a metaphysical something that lies at the heart of New Jersey’s civil religion — and, indeed, the nation’s. Fort Lee, the aggrieved town in question, is where in November of 1776 George Washington watched while his forces across the Hudson in Fort Washington were whipped and captured by British forces. Then the Brits with their Hessian troops crossed the river and chased him across northern New Jersey into Pennsylvania.
A month later, Washington had some revenge, crossing the Delaware on Christmas Day to surprise the Hessians at their camp in Trenton and restoring the morale of the Continental Army. And seven years later, with the Revolutionary War successfully concluded and the British departed from New York, the Father of His Country crossed the Hudson to reclaim Fort Washington in triumph.
So the George Washington Bridge is not just an important commutation artery for the residents of Fort Lee. It symbolizes the establishment of the nation, its noble span representing the spiritual journey from bitter defeat to joyous victory. Denying access to it for partisan political purposes is no less than a transgression against the nation itself.