Residents of California live under some of the tightest restrictions in the U.S. So it isn’t surprising that California’s governor is the latest poster boy for the “Do as I Say, Not as I Do” crowd. Recently, Gavin Newsome was caught dining (indoors and unmasked) at Napa’s posh French Laundry for a party of 12.
California’s governor is not alone, William McGurn notes in the WSJ:
- Not long after Mr. Newsom’s visit to the French Laundry was exposed, Californians read about a delegation of their lawmakers who’d jetted to a Maui resort for a conference as everyone else was being told to avoid nonessential travel.
- New Yorkers earlier learned that Mayor Bill de Blasio was working out at his favorite Park Slope YMCA right as he was shutting down the city.
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot made headlines for sneaking off to get their hair done when barbershops and salons were closed to everyone else.
- Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered DC residents not to leave the boundaries of the Capital. She defended herself when she traveled to Joe Biden’s “victory” speech in Delaware by declaring it “essential” travel.
As more and more Americans are being told what to do this Thanksgiving in the privacy of their own homes, hypocrisy is guaranteed when we impose one-size-fits-all mandates that are rigid and unworkable, continues Mr. McGurn.
In “Facing COVID Without Panic,” author Daniel Halperin believes a bigger part of the problem has been the reliance on mandates, especially those that have only a marginal impact on the virus’s spread.
In an email with Mr. McGurn, Mr. Halperin writes:
Many of these mandates and guidelines fixate on behaviors and settings where the actual risk is very low, such as fleeting public encounters, surface-based transmission or beach visits. Meanwhile, measures which could have the greatest prevention impact, such as re-engineering buildings to improve air circulation, are still not widely prioritized—not to mention even simpler actions, such as opening windows to allow outdoor air to circulate indoors.
Mr. McGurn asks readers to consider another “celebrated gotcha”:
Recently the president of Notre Dame, the Rev. John Jenkins, was raked over the coals by students and faculty after he appeared at a White House ceremony for Amy Coney Barrett without a mask. Later he tested positive for Covid-19. It appeared karma was catching up with him.
Lost – the Real Covid-19 Story
Unlike many other university presidents, Father Jenkins kept Notre Dame’s campus open this semester. It wasn’t without outbreaks and setbacks, but the university adapted and succeeded in keeping life as normal as possible. Doesn’t it suggest the better path forward is to lay out the risks and the ways to mitigate them rather than pretend risk can be eliminated with some sweeping decree?
Certainly leaders ought to live by the same rules they impose on everyone else. But as we celebrate this Thanksgiving amid the many examples of double standards, maybe we should take them as less a morality tale than a sign we need workable guidelines that even politicians could obey.