My colleague at PJM Tyler O’Neill covered Mayor Bill de Blasio’s confounding instructions to contact tracers—who he says will be vital in controlling the spread of the coronavirus—to not ask infected New Yorkers if they attended the George Floyd protests. De Blasio doesn’t want to be blamed if there is a spike in infections and deaths because tens of thousands of people were standing shoulder to shoulder, breathing on each other, coughing, screaming, and generally sending out an engraved invitation to the coronavirus to take up residence in their body.
Suicide? Or murder? It takes a special kind of stupid to attend a mass rally during a pandemic, especially if you know you’re vulnerable to disease because of a previous medical condition. But de Blasio and Democrats across the country allowed these huge gatherings of humanity because it was politically advantageous for them to so so.
Just a few weeks ago, Democrats were virus-shaming a few dozen kids in the Ozarks for attending a pool party. Across the country, individuals who dared defy the lockdown felt the full force and power of the state descend on their heads as Democratic governors insisted on relying on “facts and science” before allowing their citizens to go out and make a living.
Unless political opportunity presents itself. Then, “facts and science” get thrown under the bus in favor of Orange Man Bad.
But by allowing the protests, Democrats have created a huge dilemma for themselves.
Either coronavirus is spread easily at outdoor events, and the marchers put their neighbors and themselves in great danger, or it is not, and most of the draconian rules dictating outdoor social distancing during the shutdowns — the closing of parks, funerals, weddings, summer camps, etc. — were unnecessary and probably unhealthy. Either elected officials have helped facilitate a second wave, or they have been enforcing useless diktats.
New York has become the epicenter of this hypocrisy with de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo still “enforcing” the lockdown while smiling benevolently at the protesters.
At this point, we have no choice but to believe the politicians who cheered the mass protests — often marching themselves — are only subjectively punishing constituents. This weekend, tens of thousands of people gathered in mass demonstration in Brooklyn. Today, De Blasio has city workers welding shut the gates to parks in Hasidic neighborhoods in Williamsburg, lest kids play outside. This weekend, thousands marched, but New York governor Andrew Cuomo, the man who oversaw the most disastrously inept coronavirus response in the country, only threatened people having drinks on the street of downtown Manhattan to disperse: “Don’t make me come down there,” he warned.
And Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser isn’t any better.
When asked about the possibility of protests spreading coronavirus, Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser, another elected official who ignores her own regulations, argued that “before these protests, we were seeing spikes. The reopening of America, in some cases early, has already generated an increase of cases.” This deflection, quite popular among Democrats, is meaningless. Spikes in the Sunbelt do not tell us anything useful about the relationship that protests have with the spreading of coronavirus. It says nothing about her governance.
What about the argument that the Black Lives Matter protests were sooooooo very important that it was worth the risk to kill thousands of people? Again, “facts and science” have been enslaved to serve political ends. When that happens, “hypocrisy” becomes meaningless. They allow the protests because they have the power and they lock people inside their houses because they can.
It’s not about facts or science, it’s a power equation. And it has revealed the Democratic Party as the power-hungry, uncaring, unfeeling hypocrites that they are.