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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
OpinionState of hypocrisy: The grand failure of California politicians who violate COVID...

State of hypocrisy: The grand failure of California politicians who violate COVID rules

Here in the progressive bubble, as we forever scrunch our eyebrows and subject ourselves to endless analysis as to why anyone in the world would ever vote for Donald Trump, it pays to note one commonplace reason:

Those who supported the outgoing 45th president prized his proud and open status as a bastard, which stands out in marked contrast—in his supporters’ eyes—to the poses of left-wing politicians who act all righteous but then sneakily undertake despicable actions.

In other words, went the narrative: “He’s racist? So what? At least he admits it.” Or: “He’s sexist? So what? At least he’s not a phony.” Or: “He ignores science? So what? I don’t trust science either.”

With our partisan divide as toxic as ever, the last thing we need is left-wing politicians advising or ordering us to act one way and then themselves acting another way, such as, oh-I-don’t-know, when San Francisco Mayor London Breed attended a dinner gathering at the French Laundry in Napa County shortly after Election Day (squeezing within Napa’s COVID rules yet violating those of her own city)…or when Governor Gavin Newsom attended an associate’s 50th birthday party at the same restaurant, apparently violating Napa’s 3-household-per-party limit…or when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got her hair done in a San Francisco salon despite the salons there having been ordered shut…or when Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl put in a vote to ban outdoor dining and then swiftly rushed to dine outside a local Italian restaurant…or most recently when, right next door to Milpitas, Mayor of San Jose Sam Liccardo advised the public to steer clear of large Thanksgiving gatherings and then charged on over to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving, amid a capacity crowd of relatives from 5 different households. 

Um, uh, forgive my departure from the standard customs of human politeness, but: Who do these ridiculous idiots think they are?

I mean: What kind of total failure of integrity are we dealing with here? What happened to practicing what you preach, doing unto others, and not being a full-blown goddamn trainwreck of a hypocrite?

Oh, I’m sorry: Is it more benign than all that? Is this just mass-level force of habit? Are human beings such hopeless creatures of routine that despite knowing better, preaching better, and praying for (much) better days, we’re simply destined to march mindlessly within our preset (yet highly destructive) patterns of behavior? 

Whatever’s going on, it’s lethal. Here I go sounding like Captain Obvious, but leaders must lead foremost by example. At least that’s what good leaders are supposed to do. If the example being set is garbage, then the outcome will most certainly be garbage, too, regardless of whatever sanctimonious platitudes might be rolling off the supposed leaders’ silky tongues. 

Again, that’s why Trump was so appealing to so many: he dispensed with the platitudes and got right down to dropping his pants. So how ‘bout not validating the dark roots of the bastard’s appeal? 

California lawmakers: pull yourselves together! You’re all a bunch of sorry-ass disgraces. You’re like that scene in “Casino” when the Sharon Stone character says to her young daughter, “Don’t ever do this,” then proceeds to bend down and snort a line of coke right there in front of the child.

Reality check: People are dying on ventilators. As they choke on the phlegm that’s where their breath hole belonged, their loved ones call in frantically to the nurse’s station, as hungry for updates as the dying parties are for oxygen. The failure of our leaders therefore transcends mere hypocrisy: As they flout their own rules and guidelines by gathering indoors, they reward the virus umpteenth fresh routes by which to travel. They thus become COVID-19’s grim accomplices, and as such are no longer the people’s guardians, but our betrayers.

In times of peace, leaders comfortably lead the people. In times of war, as systems bend and shift, the lines between those “above” and those “below” get blurred. As such, the people, clear and desperate, speak more freely, such as we’ve seen in 2020’s mass uprisings, be they in protest of shelter-in-place rules or of racial injustice.

As a citizen, here, I must speak out: If you cannot honor your own rules, then I must recite them to you. And if in your arrogance, you continue refusing to listen, the tax you pay will take the form of your citizens’ lives, as well as pieces of your conscience that you shall never manage to regain:

Stay home. Wash your hands. Socially distance. Lead by example! 

I do hope that you listen. For if you fail to, the people will no doubt speak again, and louder.

After all, we are all now living in times of war.


Eric Shapiro
Eric Shapiro
Eric Shapiro is a writer & filmmaker. As a screenwriter, he’s won a Fade In Award and written numerous feature films in development by companies including WWE, Mandalay Sports Media, Game1, and Select Films. He is also the resident script doctor for Rebel Six Films (producers of A&E’s “Hoarders”). As a journalist, Eric’s won a California Journalism Award and is co-owner and editor of The Milpitas Beat, a Silicon Valley newspaper with tens of thousands of monthly readers that has won the Golden Quill Award as well as the John Swett Award for Media Excellence. As a filmmaker, Eric’s directed award-winning feature films that have premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, and Shriekfest, and been endorsed by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Eric’s apocalyptic novella “It’s Only Temporary” appears next to Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” on Nightmare Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Horror Novels of All Time. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Rhoda, and their two sons.


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