Authentic jersey

The O’Toole Chronicles: Breaking Bread

There are a few stories in politics that reveal an impostor is among us. Specifically, beware of people who use the phrase – breaking bread – as an expression of action or a political destination point.

The term originated from the actual breaking of hard bread as people gathered for a meal. The expression also represents the bread dividers dividing their pieces among themselves – an interesting interpretation in our modern politics. We can find evidence of the phrase “breaking bread” in the dating of the Acts of the Apostles and the New Testament. Right concept, wrong phrase.

The late and great Nick Acocella, founder of the then revolutionary political newsletter (fax) Politifax was a political guru. Nick was born and raised in Hudson County. He was one of the most genuine and wise human beings I have ever met. I spent a lot of time in nice restaurants in Hoboken with Nick and he taught me the art of politics decades ago.

A political gem that Nick passed on to more than one governor and a few legislative leaders was the idea that legislators and governors actually work and get along. Stop the presses!

Here is his plan. The governor was to host 40 lunches or dinners with each legislative team over a two-year period. The plan envisioned each legislative team taking the time to share a meal with the Governor and discuss priorities. The idea is that if you spend quality time with the Governor and running mates, something positive will come out when the check is paid.

Some practical issues with the plan. Not every lawmaker and running mate can sit civilly with each other, forgetting to add the incumbent leader of the political apparatus to the mix.

Also, far too many lawmakers think they’re smarter than the governor and egos might not allow for a genuine exchange of good faith. Some lawmakers are so narrow-minded they can’t see the vision. And some governors think they know it all, but have no idea of ​​real life beyond their bunker or bubble world.

It can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean collaborative efforts should be ignored. I strongly encourage all actors – professional and political – to sit down and spend time talking about life and priorities. It is extremely beneficial to try it.

But to those in politics who utter or say the words “break bread,” you don’t know how amateurish and stupid you sound. Imagine a youngster wearing their parent’s costume and acting like an adult – it just doesn’t work, maybe funny, but shouldn’t be taken seriously. For the past few months, someone in Trenton has had to hand out a cheat sheet that teaches lawmakers and staffers how to use the term “break the bread.” It just seems quirky, dated, contrived, and inauthentic with real professionals.

Tip of the day – stop saying “break the bread” and just do it without the tagline.