New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has instructed the citizens of his city to stay home and avoid non-essential travel. That apparently has not stopped him from driving nearly 12 miles to take a stroll in a park. It should be noted that de Blasio’s mayoral mansion is located on an 11-acre plot in the middle of a different park. There is no reason – certainly not an “essential” reason – why he needs to make the journey to another park well over 200 blocks away, especially as the other residents of the city have been warned against doing that sort of thing.
Mayor de Blasio defended his defiance of his own stay-at-home orders by saying the strolls “help him” and allow him to be “effective.” One can only shudder at the thought of what it must look like when de Blasio is ineffective.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago is an even bigger and more blatant hypocrite. A few days ago, she got a professional haircut and posed for a picture with her stylist, who was certainly standing much closer than six feet away. This is the same woman who forcibly shut down every hair salon and barber shop in the city, and reserves the right to fine or arrest anyone who does exactly what she just did. The good mayor even recorded a friendly quarantine PSA where she specifically said that getting your hair done “is not essential.”
Lightfoot has been applauded in the media for being especially strict in her stay-at-home orders. Strict to the other residents of the city, I mean, not to herself. She has not only shut down “non-essential” businesses and instated social distancing rules, but she also instructed the people of Chicago to only exit their homes for a “brief respite.” They are not allowed to jog for long distances because, she explained, “outside is not for 5Ks.” Yes, she has assumed the power to decide what outside is “for.”
Don’t worry. She has an excellent excuse for violating her supposedly lifesaving rules. When asked by a reporter, she explained that she just “needed to have a haircut” because she “takes personal hygiene very seriously.” She also insisted that her position as “public face of the city” and her frequent appearances on national television give her a special exemption.
As to that latter assertion, isn’t it more important for the people of Chicago to see their mayor following her own social distancing directives? Indeed, the fact that she’s on TV as the “public face of the city” (whatever the hell that means exactly) is all the more reason to not get a haircut. She could set an example by sporting unkempt and overgrown hair like the rest of us. Instead, she prioritized her vanity over responsible leadership.
As to the claim that she “needed” a haircut due to her “personal hygiene” requirements, what precisely is she insinuating? That everyone else in Chicago doesn’t take hygiene seriously? That hygiene isn’t important to the unwashed masses? If a haircut can be essential for her, than it can be essential for anyone. Unless, of course, all of these shutdown orders are based more on the egocentric whims of people in power than any kind of coherent and objective standard.
What’s particularly frustrating is that, in a vacuum, the rationales offered by Lightfoot and de Blasio are perfectly reasonable. Why shouldn’t a man with a high stress job drive a few miles to a park and enjoy a nice stroll? Why shouldn’t a woman take care of her appearance and get a haircut if she needs one? As long as they take appropriate precautions and wash their hands frequently, it will probably be fine. But this is the sort of reasoning Lightfoot and de Blasio and the other petty tyrants running states and cities across the country have publicly and forcefully rejected. They tell us that even something as seemingly innocuous as a haircut or a walk in the park might put lives at risk. “Stay home and save lives,” they say.
So which is it? Did Mayor Lightfoot knowingly put lives at risk? Does she think that it’s dangerous and potentially deadly to get a haircut from a person who has no symptoms and is wearing a mask, yet did it anyway? Or does she realize that it’s reasonably safe to go about your day, so long as precautions are taken and social distancing is observed as much as possible within the context of daily life? If the former, then she is a reckless sociopath. If the latter, she is a liar, a hypocrite, and a charlatan. If I had to guess, I’d say the latter is the case. And it should concern us that a liar, hypocrite, and charlatan has been given so much power. Especially because she is far from the only one.
Author: Matt Walsh