'Do as I say': Anger as some politicians ignore virus rules
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Denver's mayor flies to Mississippi to spend Thanksgiving with his family — after urging others to stay home. He later says he was thinking with “my heart and not my head." A Pennsylvania mayor bans indoor dining, then eats at a restaurant in Maryland. The governor of Rhode Island is photographed at an indoor wine event as her state faces the nation's second-highest virus rate.
While people weigh whether it's safe to go to work or the grocery store, the mayor of Austin, Texas, heads to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on a private jet after hosting a wedding for 20. California's governor dines at a swanky French restaurant with lobbyists, none wearing masks, a day after San Francisco's mayor was there for a birthday party. Both had recently imposed tough rules on restaurants, shops and activities to slow the spread of the virus.
To the public’s chagrin, some of America’s political leaders have been caught preaching one thing on the coronavirus and practicing another.
Sure, politicians have long been called out for hypocrisy. But during a pandemic that’s forced millions into seclusion and left many without paychecks, such actions can feel like a personal insult — reinforcing the idea “that some people just don’t have to follow the rules while the rest of us do,” says Rita Kirk, a professor of communications at Southern Methodist University.
And that, in turn, hints at even deeper questions.
In a monarchy, a king or queen is special, born to the role, cast as above the rest. In a dictatorship, the ruler often takes more spoils than the ruled. But in a democratic society, where leaders are drawn from among the very people who must abide by their decisions, what happens when those in charge act in ways that suggest they're above those who are not?
It's easy to see politicians flouting...