As depressing and, in many cases, clearly pointless as the coronavirus restrictions have been, nothing is quite as infuriating as seeing the very people who tout the lockdowns flout them. The latest – and perhaps wildest – example comes from Austin, TX, Mayor Steve Adler. Mayor Steve had the audacity to film a message imploring his constituents to stay at home and avoid crowds – while vacationing in Cabo! As ridiculous as that is, it’s far from the only example of rank hypocrisy from our glorious leaders, who demand we peasants “do as I say, not as I do.”
Setting a Bad Example
In early November, Mayor Adler hosted an outdoor wedding and reception for his daughter at a hotel near downtown Austin. Despite health officials warning about a COVID-19 spike believed to be on the way, there were 20 guests at the party. That’s not a huge wedding, by any means, but it is twice the number of folks who are supposed to be gathering in one place, according to the so-called experts. The very next day, Mayor Adler and seven of those wedding guests flew to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, where they spent a week at a family timeshare. It was just one night into the trip that the mayor addressed Austin residents in a video posted to Facebook.
“We need to stay home if you can,” Adler said. “This is not the time to relax.” It must have been infuriating to Austinites suffering from cabin fever to discover later that the man telling them to stay at home was enjoying Cabo with friends and family. “We are going to be looking really close …” he continued on the video. “We may have to close things down if we are not careful.” So, despite his 20-guest wedding party and the Mexican vacation, if the common folk of Austin didn’t fall in line, he would start shutting the city down?
Naturally, Adler said he hadn’t violated his own order or any orders of Gov. Greg Abbott. Still, he apologized for “setting a bad example.”
“I need to set a clearer example so that my message is unambiguous, and for the failure to do that, I sincerely apologize,” the mayor said. Does that come across as apologizing that everyone else failed to understand him? If you aren’t getting that vibe quite yet, just wait until you hear his justification. He said that his daughter had to scale down her wedding to a “small, mostly family, very private wedding.” Afterward, “a small, mostly family group traveled to Mexico.” Note here that the small, private group at both the wedding and the trip to Cabo were only “mostly family.” Oh, and it was safer, then – even though it wasn’t.
“I want you to know I regret that travel,” he said. Does he regret his pandemic vacation – or does he just wish he hadn’t gotten caught?
Just One of Many
There’s no way to list all the examples of hypocrisy presented by those at the top of society, but there are several others worth mentioning. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his plan to have his two adult daughters and 89-year-old mother join him in Albany for Thanksgiving, but he had to change those plans after being called a hypocrite for not taking his own advice.
For months, Cuomo has been telling people not to travel. Indeed, in the very same interview that he announced his plans, he admonished New Yorkers to stay home. So he changed his plans. He announced that his daughter was out of state, and a spokesperson assured New Yorkers that the governor wouldn’t be having family over to visit at all. That’s all good and well, but it doesn’t change the fact that he planned to violate his own orders until he outed himself in an interview.
Across the country in California, Governor Gavin Newsom has been catching hell for attending a 12-person dinner party at an upscale restaurant – indoors and without masks. If you’re wondering what makes this get together okay when it clearly violates the state coronavirus restrictions, well, it was for a really good reason. Newsom held the party to celebrate the 50th birthday of a good friend – a lobbyist by the name of Jason Kinney. Oh, and pay no attention to his claims that this was an outdoor event. Fox ran a photo proving that all 12 of the elite were crowded together inside.
Then there’s “Fancy” Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) hair debacle. Who could forget that?
It Isn’t All About Democrat Politicians
Transitioning out of the ruling class and into the chattering class, there was the story of CNN’s Chris Cuomo – NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s brother. After months of telling people to follow his brother’s quarantine rules, he broke them himself. Chris was seen arguing with a cyclist on the street. What was he so mad about? The cyclist had called him out for not wearing a mask.
Finally, it wouldn’t be fair to pay all our attention to the Democrats, politicians or otherwise. Perhaps the most hilarious example of pandemic hypocrisy was that of Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell. The Texas judge was cited for violating his own stay at home order this spring. Yes, you read that correctly – Judge Gravell is the one who issued the order that he then violated.
Birthdays and weddings must be the unwritten, unspoken exceptions to any coronavirus rules, but only if you’re important enough to get away with it. The “honorable” judge donned firefighter gear and went to attend a family birthday party. It was never clarified quite why Gravell wore PPE from the fire department – whether he believed it would protect him from coronavirus or simply protect him from being recognized breaking his own rules. The latter seems far more likely.
Gravell was caught on a neighbor’s security camera. The Texas Rangers investigated, and a special prosecutor was brought in. The judge’s attorney pointed out that his client was the only person to be prosecuted for breaking the order, but one might suspect that’s the point. As Liberty Nation’s Graham J. Noble put it: “That’s the moral of the story: simply do not impose restrictions you yourself are not willing to abide by.”
The Rangers cleared the judge of any criminal wrongdoing, and he will plead guilty and pay a $1,000 fine for his misbehavior, his attorney said. Still, it’s a lesson all those who violate their own rules could stand to learn. If only all the rule makers were forced to live by them as well – there would be a hell of a lot fewer rules and a good deal more liberty.
Read more from James Fite.