DUKES COUNTY, Mass. — Former president Barack Obama has drastically scaled back the attendance at his sixtieth birthday party over COVID concerns just days after news of the event sparked public backlash, Fox News reports:
Hannah Hankins, a spokeswoman for the former president, said in a statement obtained by Fox News that the “outdoor event was planned months ago in accordance with all public health guidelines and with COVID safeguards in place.”
“Due to the new spread of the delta variant over the past week, the President and Mrs. Obama have decided to significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends. President Obama is appreciative of others sending their birthday wishes from afar and looks forward to seeing people soon.”
Obama originally intended to host nearly five hundred guests. At the time, the New York Post reported:
Former President Barack Obama is creating a “nightmare” by trying to get nearly 700 people to his 60th birthday bash in Martha’s Vineyard, a source told The Post Monday — as news of the lavish party drew fire amid a national surge of the COVID Delta variant and new restrictions.
George Clooney, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey are among the 475 guests expected to attend alongside about 200 hired hands.
The Post continued, citing a condemnation of the event by House GOP chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.).
“Democrats are imposing unscientific mask mandates while contemplating more lockdowns. Meanwhile, President Obama is hosting over 500 elites at his Martha’s Vineyard mansion. If you or I did that it would be called a super-spreader event by the Democrats,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, chair of the House Republican Conference.
“Typical liberal ‘do as I say, not as I do’. This is what socialism looks like.”
Stefanik, of course, was absolutely correct. Blue state politicians have seemingly never had a problem flouting the COVID mandates for which they so staunchly advocate.
It’s happened time and time again: from Obama planning out an extravagant diamond jubilee amid a mild jump in infections, to Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) dining maskless at the French Laundry while mainstream public health experts pushed Zoom Thanksgivings, to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D-Ill.) getting her hair cut while Illinois barbershops were shut by city and state-sanctioned lockdowns.
So many on the right find themselves outraged by this, time and time again — and justifiably so. Calling out hypocrisy — particularly hypocrisy with regard to COVID policy — is certainly tempting.
However, it’s counterintuitive. Here’s why.
Lockdowns and mask mandates are blatant violations of individual autonomy — violations of individual autonomy rightly viewed as illegitimate by most on the right. Therefore, by calling attention to the hypocrisy of the left with regard to these mandates, legitimacy is being granted to them. The standard the left is being held to is their own, thus shifting the Overton window.
The standard that they should be held to, ideally, is the standard to which we wish to return — they are individuals exercising basic rights whose once unquestionable value has been undermined over the course of the past year and a half.
Therefore, the activities in which these Democrats have partaken shouldn’t be the target of right-wing ire. Their refusal to endorse their constituents’ ability to do the same should be.
Likewise, hypocrisy isn’t the problem. Democrats’ flagrant disregard for constraints on their power is.
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