There are several stories in politics that there is an impostor among us. In particular, beware of those people who use the phrase – to break bread – as a phrase of action or a political destination.
The term originates from the actual breaking of hard bread when people gather around food. The phrase also shows how bread was shared, an interesting interpretation in our modern politics. Evidence of the phrase “breaking bread” can be found in the Acts of the Apostles and in the New Testament. Good concept, bad phrase.
The late and great Nick Acacello, the founder of the then groundbreaking political bulletin (fax) Politifax was a political guru. Nick was born and raised in Hudson County. He was one of the truest and wisest people I have ever met. I spent a lot of time in some classy restaurants in Hoboken with Nick, and he taught me decades ago in the art of politics.
One political gem that Nick passed on to more than one governor and several legislative leaders was the idea that legislators and governors work and actually get along. Stop the press!
Here was his plan. The governor was to organize 40 meetings for lunch or dinner with each legislative team over two years. The plan provided that each legislative team would take the time to have lunch with the governor and discuss priorities. The idea is that if you spend time with the governor and colleagues, then when you pay the check will be something positive.
Some practical problems with the plan. Not all legislators and candidates can sit civilly with each other, forgetting to join this titular head of the political apparatus.
Also, too many lawmakers think they are smarter than the governor, and the ego may not allow true good faith to give and take. Some lawmakers are so narrow that they cannot see the vision. And some governors think they know everything but have no idea about real life outside of their bunker or the world of bubbles.
This may be difficult, but it does not mean that collaborative efforts should be ignored. I strongly encourage all players – professional and political – to sit down and spend some time talking about life and priorities. It is very useful to try.
But for those who are involved in politics, who actually say or say the words “break bread,” you don’t know how amateurish and stupid. Imagine a teenager wearing a parent’s business suit and behaving like an adult – it just doesn’t work, it can be funny, but it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Over the past few months, someone in Trenton has probably handed out a cheat sheet that teaches lawmakers and staff to use the term “breaking bread”. With true professionals it just sounds wrong, outdated, far-fetched and invalid.
Tip of the day – stop saying “break bread” and just do it without a slogan.