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    • California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the press while holding a mask.

Holiday Hypocrisy: Politicians Break Their Own Rules

Riley Foushee ’23 Assistant Op-Ed Editor
For the first time that I can remember, I spent Thanksgiving with only my parents and brother.
The absence of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents loomed large as I ate my turkey. As various other celebrations approach, Thanksgiving casts a dark warning for the upcoming holiday season. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s should be a time of joy and festivity, a time spent with the people you cherish. This year, despite promising news about several vaccines, we’re forced to hunker down for the holidays. It’s another sacrifice we have to make in a year where we have given up so much to stay safe. And yet, our politicians and leaders seem to disregard their own guidelines, leaving us angry and confused.

For Thanksgiving, several politicians flouted the CDC Covid-19 holiday celebrations guidelines while the rest of us abided by them. Most notably, California Governor Gavin Newsom attended a dinner party at the lavish restaurant, French Laundry, where meals can start at $450. The party was attended by several lobbyists and other prominent members of society. Despite California restricting restaurant seating to one household per table, Newsom and his group went ahead and dined. He later apologized, but the damage was done. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock tweeted to Denver residents to stay home and hold virtual gatherings for Thanksgiving. Shortly after tweeting that, he hopped on a plane to see his family in Houston. Finally, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed that his mother and two daughters would be visiting him for Thanksgiving. After significant backlash he recanted his invitation, but his hypocrisy was laid bare for New Yorkers who were observing the guidelines.

Politicians are one of the most hated groups in society, often for reasons they cannot control. But practicing what you preach is a simple thing that everyone can do. At a time when Americans are stuck at home and distrustful of the government, politicians acting above the law is reckless and irresponsible. Our country is in the process of transitioning between two presidential administrations, with the Trump administration being hesitant, at the very least, to give up power. If there was ever a time that our country needed trust in our government, this is it. But our politicians abuse their power and undermine our trust. Millions of Americans will spend the holiday season alone, sacrificing their happiness for their safety and the safety of their families. Our politicians, however, will spend the holiday season with their families, disregarding their own rules. We often hear the adage “a tale of two Americas”, generally referring to Democrats and Republicans, urban and rural, and other schisms in our society. But this version of two Americas consists of the political elites, who can break the rules and get away with it, and the people, who either abide by the rules or get punished. And if we are to “restore the soul of America”, as our President-Elect Joe Biden says, we are going to need to hold our leaders accountable for their hypocritical misconduct.
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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
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