Tuesday, 04 August 2020

Progressive Privilege: Large Gatherings for Me, but Not for Thee

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Bans on large gatherings, Americans are told, are based on science and therefore must be obeyed by everyone lest the population be decimated by COVID-19. But there appears to be one glaring exception to the rule: large gatherings with left-wing political agendas.

Requiring people to stay home or to self-quarantine after traveling to high-risk areas, as some states do, is “a lot to ask of a population, but the promise is it’s about science, so it applies to everyone, ‘cause science doesn’t work if it only applies to the people without power and not to the people who do have power,” Tucker Carlson observed on Fox News Channel Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends “limiting attendance at funerals … to a small number of immediate family members and friends,” and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp capped gatherings in his state at 50 people. Yet, according to NPR, “hundreds of people turned out in Atlanta” last week for former Congressman John Lewis’ funeral (shown), where they apparently met with no resistance from state or local officials while enjoying a political attack disguised as a eulogy from former President Barack Obama.

“Normal Americans are still subject to CDC guidelines,” remarked Carlson. “They’re not in Congress. And those guidelines recommend limiting funerals to immediate family members, so they don’t get to say goodbye to those they love at large funerals. They don’t have the same privilege as John Lewis’ friends.”

“The people who went to that [funeral],” he said, “are exempt because somehow shouting left-wing slogans in church is, quote, official government business, unlike having a church service in Michigan, for example, or conducting a neighborhood cookout in Washington.” (To be fair, church services have always been exempted from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus orders, but that is not the case in some other states.)

Meanwhile, in New Mexico, Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who scored just 18 percent on The New American’s Freedom Index during her three terms in Congress, extended her order prohibiting large gatherings on the same day as Lewis’ funeral, but she made one curious exception.

“We are not going to use COVID or anything else to prevent a peaceful protest,” declared Grisham, “but we are not going to let them be excuses for political organizing for the sake of a political party or individual getting ready for the election,” including door-to-door campaigning.

The next day, Grisham modified this advice somewhat, saying door-to-door campaigning is permissible, but only if candidates wear masks and practice social distancing. She’ll have none of that old-fashioned glad-handing during the COVID “crisis,” thank you very much.

This wasn’t Grisham’s first change of heart on coronavirus policy. Three weeks earlier, she had argued that protests were a bad idea in the COVID-19 era. “Young, old, however you would define that, people should not be doing these protests with COVID-19,” she said, adding, “COVID is a significant risk and these pose a significant challenge.” Did she realize in the interim that angering her base could have negative repercussions?

Grisham isn’t the first politico to give protesters a pass when it comes to obeying coronavirus dictates. All across the country, governors, mayors, and other officials, mostly Democrats, not only have failed to enforce their orders against Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests but have even participated in the protests.

Like Grisham, Whitmer had once claimed protests endangered people’s lives — protests against her lockdown orders, that is. When it came to BLM protests, however, the governor was right there with them, appearing at a June 4 march in Highland Park, where she was seen “kneeling with protesters shoulder-to-shoulder, several of whom were not wearing masks,” reported Michigan Capitol Confidential.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has come down hard on others who violated stay-at-home orders, not only appeared at BLM protests but actually canceled all large gatherings in the Big Apple through September except for BLM protests.

The messages conveyed by these inconsistencies are clear. First, the orders being handed down from on high are not based on genuine science because, if they were, they would apply to everyone. Second, for all the talk about “white privilege” these days, the real problem is “progressive privilege.”

 Photo: AP Images

Michael Tennant is a freelance writer and regular contributor to The New American.

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