Opinion

The New Pandemic of Mass Hypocrisy

Philip Mauriello Jr. is the Managing Attorney of Arete Law A.P.C. and host of the California Underground Podcast

This past weekend, my girlfriend and I went on a lovely date night out to one of our favorite Italian restaurants here in San Diego. The restaurant required a reservation in advance so they could make sure that a table was ready for you. The tables were spaced farther than six feet apart. The waiters wore masks and gloves, and promptly wiped down and disinfected the tables and chairs after patrons left. It looked like the restaurant had taken every precaution required by the County and the State of California to properly open and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. 

A couple of days later, I had casually mentioned that we had gone to a restaurant and the food was delicious and everything seemed to be done properly to make customers feel safe. The response from one colleague?

“I hope it was worth the risk to yourself and your entire community so you could go out to a restaurant.”

Now just a bit of backstory about this colleague: he is a great person, we just don’t see eye to eye at all on politics. But he is also someone who has been sounding the alarm and raising the flag for people to march in the streets and cheering on the thousands gathering in public. Before I go on, I have no issue with the protests. As the old saying goes, “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will stand up and defend your right to say it.”

After that comment, I was left flabbergasted. To wrap my head around his statement required so much mental gymnastics that I felt a headache coming on. After pressing him on how he can both be for thousands in the streets and then turn around and shame my girlfriend and I for going out to a quiet dinner, his response was that what I was doing was selfish and the protests had a more important meaning and that if I didn’t understand, he didn’t know how to explain it to me.

You don’t need me to point out how we have now reached peak hypocrisy in the wake of COVID-19 and now nationwide protests. Not too long ago the COVID-19 SS on social media had no problem shaming everyone for even going outside to see the light of day. 

Went to the beach? Killing someone’s grandmother. 

Went for a walk around town? Killing someone’s grandmother. 

Asking when you can go back to work or reopen your business? Killing someone’s grandmother. 

Now, in the wake of thousands protesting in every major city across the nation, those same people are on the other side clapping and supporting the protesters as brave freedom fighters. 

These were the same people who had no problem shouting hurtful, disgusting insults at protesters who wanted to have the ability to reopen their businesses and support their families. They were derided as selfish and ignorant. They were reckless for spreading the virus and endangering the community. After all, all those protests were because people just wanted a haircut, right? 

Now the shoe is on the other foot and it is all justified. This is different, they say. 

Are they different? Of course. Are they both important? Also, yes. Voices need to be heard for both these issues and the First Amendment gives both sides the absolute right to do so. I support anyone who wants to exercise their Constitutional rights, whether I agree with them or not.

I believe the issue most are having is the hypocrisy in how these sides were treated. One side was treated as selfish and ignorant while the other is being treated as saviors of the Republic. 

Want an example of peak hypocrisy here in California? The same week the protests began for George Floyd’s murder, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order relegating protests to only 100 people and they must be socially distancing and wearing masks. Have you heard Gov. Newsom calling on crackdowns of these protests for violating his executive order?

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has perhaps been the strictest enforcer of lockdowns and regulations. In the face of these protests, he waived curfew, allowed thousands to march in the streets, and even joined a protest while not wearing a mask. The same is being seen all over California. Thousands gathered, but no crackdown from those in positions of power. 

I believe people are starting to see the hypocrisy and are getting upset. If COVID-19 is so dangerous—as we were told by the same authorities above—why aren’t they speaking out about how these new protests are putting thousands at risk? If COVID-19 is not as dangerous as we thought and thousands of protesters do not pose a risk to the entire community, why are we still in pseudo lockdown mode? Something does not add up here and people are smart enough to see it. 

It wasn’t too long ago when we were also told COVID-19 disproportionately affects minorities. Wouldn’t the number of protesters spreading the virus increase the risk that more minorities may become infected and increase the death toll in their communities? 

As much as you may try to wrap your head around it, none of it makes sense. COVID-19 does not discriminate based on whether you are being selfish or altruistic. Officials need to address their conflicting statements. They either need to say COVID-19 is incredibly dangerous and the protests are dangerous to society, or they need to acknowledge that it was never that dangerous and allow people to return to normalcy. 

The political elite in California have had a good time not being called on their hypocrisy, but I believe the people are starting to wake up to these contradictions. No one is going to believe them when they cry wolf about a “second wave.” I suspect most will just go on with their lives as normal and take necessary precautions. The real question is will people remember these contradictions come November?

 

Photo by Trending Topics 2019 via Flickr