One of the few things that seem to unite all three levels of government these days – local, state and federal – is the astounding and blatant level of hypocrisy exhibited by their leaders.

Starting from the bottom up is the “Honorable” James Kenney, the mayor of Philadelphia, who issued an edict which essentially and effectively canceled the Mummer’s parade, the Thanksgiving Day Parade and all other outdoor activities in the city until February.

Of course, there is one big exception to the draconian rule: If you are social justice warriors who hate the police and amble down the avenues in a mass showing of virtue signaling, you are free to gather. Mayor Kenney and those who agree with him are afraid that the garden variety Mummer, Santa or even the long-suffering and loyal Eagles fan is Patient Zero and a toxic menace, but the folk who shout “abolish the police” while defacing property are no threat whatsoever.

Some lawyers with a background in constitutional law might call that “viewpoint discrimination,” in that the government is giving favorable treatment to one group because it agrees with their message, while punishing other groups with equally valid “viewpoints.” I hope that someone from the ACLU picked up a copy of this paper today, so they can figure out when to file their lawsuit.

Moving on from incompetent local administrators, we then have Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a man who has turned his Twitter feed into an hourly update about masks. I am not kidding, or engaging in hyperbole. I counted four tweets about the importance of wearing masks, how to wear masks, why we wear masks, who is wearing masks and what he will do to us if we do not wear masks, in about as many days. If Wolf had his way, he would personally Saran wrap every Pennsylvanian so that we would not be in a position to infect our neighbors.

Wolf says he cares about the welfare of children, but he is on the verge of keeping schools in Pennsylvania shut down for 70-80 percent of the scholastic year. Yet this is the same man who made sure that abortion clinics stayed open during the height of the pandemic. While churches were shuttered for months and people of faith were denied their sacraments, women who wanted to get rid of their pregnancies had carte blanche to access those “life sustaining services,” the term used by Wolf when deciding which business could remain functioning, and which had to close.

Now we get to the federal government, which has not covered itself in glory during this pandemic. The mixed messaging from the Trump administration is particularly obvious when you talk about immigration. Day after day has brought inconsistent and, to my mind, cruel policy directives from the White House. The fact that they are then modified and rescinded when the public displays its open-mouthed horror doesn’t change the fact that there are some bizarre things going on in Stephen Miller’s mind.

First, there was the news that the Supreme Court had spared DACA. Despite the fact that the high court declared the program to be legal (at least in the short run), the Department of Homeland Security refused to accept DACA applications.Then, the president goes on Spanish network television and says he wants to preserve DACA. (Pause to scratch your head here.) Then, administration puts out a rule requiring students, kids who paid exorbitant fees to attend school in the United States, to go home if they weren’t going to be on campus.

This was so outrageous that Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit against the government. Apparently, the lawsuit worked because the White House again reversed course and suspended that rule. And then we have the outrageous restrictions on asylum applicants, for whom they are making life impossible. I don’t think anyone would blame me for believing that stripping people of the right to obtain work authorization and other “regulatory” changes to the asylum process was opportunistically slipped in under the cover of COVID.

You might say that the administration’s actions are less a sign of hypocrisy and more a sign of incompetence, or even malice. I could even agree with you. But hypocrisy manifests itself in many forms, and one of them is pretending to care about the welfare of people and their lives and livelihoods while at the same time doing everything to undermine those goals.

So the mayor of Philadelphia bans public gatherings, except for protests he supports.

And the governor of Pennsylvania shuts down all businesses for “life-sustaining” reasons, except the one business that traffics in death.

And the president of the United States defends his organizational skills and his magnificent job managing this crisis, and then changes his mind every five minutes on key initiatives.

How blessed we are in our leaders.

Copyright 2020 Christine Flowers. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at cflowers1961@gmail.com.

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