The grand farce of American social distancing
by Michelle Malkin
This week in Colorado, our statewide stay-at-home order was extended until April 26. Gov. Jared Polis urged everyone to wear a mask of any kind while outdoors. Local groceries are limiting customers to one every 120 square feet of the store. For the first time, my neighborhood playground on Tuesday was wrapped in bright yellow “CAUTION” tape. And in Brighton, Colorado, a father was handcuffed in an empty park by three police officers for playing T-ball with his 6-year-old daughter and wife.
We are not a serious country. America’s “social distancing” campaign has gone both too far and not far enough. The restrictions and guidelines are arbitrary, irrational and unevenly applied.
While children’s swings and slides are now crime scenes, golf courses and pickleball courts in my city are wide open.
Weed and booze stores are considered “essential.” Ice cream, dessert joints and fast-food outlets with takeout and delivery services are still operating. But family-owned, sit-down restaurants that have been staples in our community have been forced to shut their doors after decades in business.
Barbershops and hair salons here were ordered to close three weeks ago, but government employees on landscaping crews who cut grass — like the ones I’ve seen all crammed together in a city truck — are still earning paychecks subsidized by the taxpayers sidelined from their jobs in the name of safety and public health.
In my state, and across the country, private gyms have been forbidden spaces for the masses for weeks. But if you’re a celebrity or Beltway elitist, you can still stay in shape while sanctimoniously taping public service announcements telling everyone else to stay at home.
Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez have been racking up social media clicks by sharing cozy family quarantine videos and coping tips from their multi-million-dollar Florida mansion. “We all need to take care of ourselves, mentally and physically, and also be respectful of the health and well-being of others. At a time when people need to stay apart, we can still find other ways to feel togetherness. Stay connected, and most importantly, stay safe,” Rodriguez tweeted to his 1.2 million fans. Yet, last week, the power couple was caught by paparazzi exiting a Miami gym whose front-door sign read: “This gym is not open. Stay home stay safe.”
Actors Mario Lopez and Mark Wahlberg have also become quarantine time favorites, sharing dance routines, home workouts and homeschool scenes to show their commitment to self-isolation. But last week, the buff Hollywood bros ventured out to a posh Los Angeles F45 Training facility to tape a partner workout together (with a two-person film crew) that they told their viewers to replicate in their apartments or backyards.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s personal trainer bragged that until last week, she was working out at the private Supreme Court gym. “Everybody’s been shut down,” trainer Bryant Johnson told Law360, a legal news and analysis website. “The only reason why I didn’t shut the justice down is because, hey, she ain’t having it,” Johnson said.
Translation: We are not “all in this together,” like the cliched hashtag saying goes. The privileged among us get VIP gym access during lockdown, while ordinary Americans are cooped up inside doing pushups in the living room, lunges through the bedroom, makeshift treadmill runs in slippery socks across the kitchen floor, and bicep curls with their jugs of laundry detergent.
Wealthy LA denizens were still flocking to trendy farmers markets last week — until they were shamed on Nextdoor and other social media outlets. Throngs descended on the D.C. Maine Avenue Fish Market last weekend in defiance of stay-at-home orders. Mardi Gras partiers and spring break students formed contagion-friendly mobs while authorities sat on their hands. Philadelphia hoodlums are still holding tailgate parties with carloads of boozers. New York subways remain stuffed to the gills with commuters on trains and platforms. But cops in Florida did crack down on a pastor in Tampa for holding services at his megachurch, and police in New Jersey arrested 15 attendees at an Orthodox Jewish rabbi’s funeral.
Mandatory mass isolation (or at least the illusion of it) is an efficient way to instill hysteria and disrupt lives but a poor means of actually protecting the most vulnerable. Selective social distancing is a futile exercise in virus virtue signaling. Either we’re all in or we’re all out. You can’t attribute curve-flattening to “social distancing” if huge swaths of people never practiced it or opted out when convenient.
How long must we carry on the charade? Public health autocrat Anthony Fauci insists we must continue living like this until there are “no new cases” and “no new deaths” — and until a vaccine (which his control-freak pal Bill Gates is working overtime to foist on the world) is in place. This is nuts. The zero-cases/zero-deaths standard doesn’t exist for any other pandemic. We’re strangling ourselves in CAUTION tape, riddled with holes, for show. Pretense is a pointless cure worse than any infectious disease.