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The Pelosi Effect: 'Special' People, Different Rules

Sometimes, an image is so self-explanatory that it transcends the need for extensive commentary.  The footage of a mid-blowout Nancy Pelosi (see update) walking maskless through an empty hair salon in San Francisco, where such salons are mandated to be closed due to the pandemic, truly speaks for itself.  Her 'let them eat ice cream' performance in front of an exorbitantly expensive refrigeration system, in the midst of actively obstructing a COVID relief bill, was pretty bad.  Yes, it represented terrible, tone deaf optics, but it needed a little context to help connect the dots.  This episode feels different.  Anyone who has suffered through recent shutdowns and restrictions -- whether through minor inconveniences, serious stress, or life-altering hardships -- can instantly and intuitively grasp the lesson of Pelosi's undercover hair appointment: 

This screen grab from a security camera tells the story, which was broken by Fox News:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited a San Francisco hair salon on Monday afternoon for a wash and blow-out, despite local ordinances keeping salons closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, Fox News has learned. In security footage obtained by Fox News, and timestamped Monday at 3:08 p.m. Pacific Time, the California powerhouse is seen walking through eSalon in San Francisco with wet hair, and without a mask over her mouth or nose. The stylist doing her hair can be seen following her wearing a black face mask...Salon owner Erica Kious, in a phone interview with Fox News on Tuesday, shared details of Pelosi’s visit. Kious explained she has independent stylists working for her who rent chairs in her salon...

“I was like, are you kidding me right now? Do I let this happen? What do I do?” Kious told Fox News, while noting that she "can’t control” what her stylists do if they rent chairs from her, as “they’re not paying” at this time. Kious cast Pelosi’s visit as a double standard. “It was a slap in the face that she went in, you know, that she feels that she can just go and get her stuff done while no one else can go in, and I can’t work,” Kious told Fox News, adding that she “can’t believe” the speaker didn’t have a mask on. (From the footage, it appears Pelosi had some kind of covering around her neck.) “We’re supposed to look up to this woman, right?” Kious said. “It is just disturbing.”

It's easy for a powerful, rich politician to lecture others about "science" and back restrictive measures that harm people's livelihoods -- all while refusing to negotiate in good faith to provide needed relief -- because she knows that she personally will still manage to do whatever she wants.  The "rules are for the little people" attitude of many elites has never been more obvious.  An iconic leader received an indoor funeral with uneven social distancing, while many normal people were barred from laying their loved ones to rest in similar settings.  The powerful people who flew back from said funeral to DC were exempt from the city's quarantine rules under a 'government business' exception.  Famous celebrities received a special carve-out from New York's quarantine mandates.  Prominent TV anchors bucked the rules, even while infected with the virus (one lied about it repeatedly).  A governor who presided over the country's biggest COVID disaster conspicuously failed to wear a mask indoors, in close proximity to others, while on a mind-boggling "victory" tour that entailed scolding other states about supposed best practices and demanding a national mask mandate.  A mayor snuck in a quick gym session while his constituents were being urged not to do the same.  On and on it goes.  

Pelosi's little visit is especially galling because she chose to avail herself of a cosmetic service in a setting that is literally unlawful for everyone else in her city.  Other women who want their hair to look good need to make alternate plans, in order to comply with the regulations.  People who make a living in this space are barred from going into their places of business to engage in the commerce that allows them to pay their bills.  But the Speaker of the House evidently felt entitled to make arrangements, stroll in for a black market hair appointment, and chose to not wear a mask while inside (raise your hand if you've had to wear a mask during a recent haircut).  Pelosi is within a vulnerable demographic and has scolded the president about setting an example.  This statement from the Speaker's office is insultingly stupid:

"Who me?  Visiting a business that's closed to everyone else, while not wearing a mask indoors?  This is frowned upon?"  Give me a break.  Her office says she was following the rules as presented to her, or something.  What?  Salons aren't allowed to operate in San Francisco.  This is feeble spin.  She got caught, period.  That's it.  Maybe Pelosi has simply learned that she can do and say whatever she desires, no matter how vile or hypocritical, with virtually no consequences.  This breeds astounding arrogance and unaccountability.  As for the larger question of the efficacy of lockdowns and the impact of re-opening, I'll leave you with this, for your consideration:

UPDATE - I'm actually speechless:

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