Kontos Column | Political Hypocrisy: Rules for thee, but not for me

By Dan Kontos


The love-hate relationship that liberty adoring Americans have with their government continues into 2021 at full speed. There is a tremendous amount of fodder for discussion, debate, and action to go around for everyone. Battle lines are drawn, positions taken, and the “snowballs” invariably start to fly. 

However, few aspects of politics draw more ire than rank, blatant hypocrisy. As a matter of fact, there is so much duplicity from many of our elected officials and self-aggrandizing political wannabe-elites that I fear that we are becoming numb to it all. Nothing has highlighted this malignancy better than the COVID-19 situation.

This is not a column about masks, lock-downs, vaccines, or any of the declared draconian responses in attempts to stem the Chinese coronavirus. This is about those in leadership positions, or positions of influence, who are great at telling us what we should do but refuse to live by these rules themselves. Hence the term: rules for thee, but not for me.  COVID-19 is just one tiny example.

If these requirements are for the good and necessary of society, saving our neighbors and family from the ravages of this pandemic, then why aren’t these measures good for everyone? Why must we comply for the sake of society, while many elitists feel these mandates are beneath them? Shouldn’t our politicians and those who crave the spotlight lead by example? The answer is simple. Either the situation is not what they claim it is, or these are fundamentally flawed people who deserve our scorn and repudiation. I suppose there is a third choice, both of these can be true.

We are replete with examples of this hypocrisy; far too many to chronicle them all. Just a few of the more blatant examples will be enough to make the most ardent supporters shake their heads and ask what were they thinking? 

At the national level, we can look at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi getting her hair done without a mask in a San Francisco salon that was closed on a mandatory lockdown. Then she has the added audacity to deny responsibility for her actions and claim she was “set up.” We can point to Senator Chuck Schumer without a mask in a crowd at a November Biden celebration after calling similar gatherings by his political opponents “super spreader” events. Apparently, Senator Diane Feinstein’s call for a national mask mandate does not apply to her when she is out of the public eye at the airport. Haven’t lowly commoners been thrown off of airplanes for less? Even the revered Dr. Anthony Fauci can’t seem to abide by his own calls for face coverings and social distancing after throwing out the opening pitch at a Washington Senator’s game.

At the state level, there are all kinds of examples as well. California Governor Gavin Newsom, who had declared indoor dining illegal and urged his fellow citizens to keep their masks on in between bites of food, apparently didn’t feel these rules applied to him when he attended a fancy dinner party at the swanky French Laundry restaurant, and then lied about it when caught. He also allowed his own business to remain open while ordering other California wineries to shutter. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has instituted some of the strictest lockdown requirements in the nation, urged people not to flock to tourist areas of her state, but that apparently did not apply to her husband who wanted to go boating. How about Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, as well as the governors of Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Mississippi, and the list goes on and on, all caught violating the very rules they have unilaterally decreed, which is what makes it so outrageous. Rules for thee, but not for me.

What about here in Wisconsin? Say what you will about his politics, when it comes to following public health orders and recommendations, Governor Tony Evers not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. You have got to give that man some credit. His fellow governors don’t seem to have the same discipline. Perhaps that’s the wrong word. Perhaps it’s respect? Respect for the citizens that elected them and now look to the very same for leadership. Let’s mull that one over for a bit. As a matter of fact, Gov. Evers’s administration is so committed, that in August, DNR Secretary Preston Cole told his employees that they were to wear a mask even when on a Zoom call from home by themselves, just to show that they were down with the struggle and set an example. Pssst, Secretary Cole. Can we get a do-over on that one?

Whether it’s violating travel restrictions, gatherings at home for the holidays, decrying rallies and religious services but allowing mass protests, it’s the same song over and over. Rules for thee, but not for me. I didn’t even get into any county or local examples either but trust me, there are a ton.

How does this happen? The answer is painfully clear; we let it happen. The old adage is true, you get the government that you voted for. We are to blame. If we continue to elect morally corrupt politicians—and allow liberty to be discarded for the sake of expediency, then we are doomed to live with this institutional rot, and it will only get worse.

If you’re okay with this rank hypocrisy, then you don’t much care, do you? But if you stuck with the column up to this point, there must be a little something inside you that agrees with me. Remember that same feeling each and every time election day comes around. Don’t worry, I’ll be here to remind you. Until then, God bless.

Dan Kontos is a paid columnist for the Metro Wire. He chooses his own topics and his opinions do not necessarily represent the staff of the Metro Wire. He lives with his family in Whiting.