Campus Life Editor
As we near the nine month mark of the pandemic, Californians are fatigued, and understandably so. The restrictions placed on the residents of California, albeit in the interest of public safety, have taken great tolls on all of us. For most, life was placed on a standstill with the stay-at-home order, put into place by Gov. Newsom on March 19. Staying home is essential during this time, as the uncontrolled spread of the virus poses great health risks for the public, and has claimed over 250,000 American lives since March.
By no means is the importance of staying home in question; it is known that avoiding gatherings with members outside of your household will help curb the spread of the virus. However, when asking the public to act in the best interest of each other, in the hopes of saving lives, following the leader is essential. Gov. Newsom, who at the beginning of the pandemic was applauded for his swift and decisive actions to curb the spread of COVID-19, has recently come under fire for attending a gathering in direct contradiction to the restrictions he himself has put in place.
This is not the first time Newsom has faced backlash in the midst of this pandemic. However, this does mark the first time Newsom has flagrantly disregarded the restrictions put in place by the state of California, and in doing so has shown the grotesque double standard for the rich and powerful that exists in this country.
Newsom, accompanied by his wife, attended a birthday dinner at a high scale french restaurant, flanked by over a dozen wealthy and powerful lobbyists. Photos released by Fox 11 show Newsom and other guests, devoid of masks and social distancing, interacting in a semi-outdoor venue. This misstep by Newsom could eventually prove disastrous in his re-election campaign, as well as with public trust in officials implementing stay-at-home orders.
By disregarding these restrictions, Newsom has provided free ammunition for his critics, more particularly the right, who liken Newsom to a tyrant overstepping his powers. This is unfortunate for several reasons — firstly because stay-at-home orders do save lives and prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed. However, with Newsom disregarding this, it only allows for continued critique of stay-at-home orders that exist to protect public health. This allows critics to continue to preach the “power grab” that they believe the stay-at-home order is, ultimately impacting the effectiveness of a state mandated stay-at-home order.
Yes, this pandemic has been burdensome. However, now is the time to implement stay-at-home orders, as, in the coming months, infections and deaths will begin to rise. With winter approaching, as well as the usual flu season, it is imperative that Californians maintain their vigilance and continue to practice social distancing. When the top of the state government disregards the very orders they have put in place, it not only sets a poor example for the everyday public, but it also further solidifies the continued wealth double standard in the USA.
The people of Californian require leadership both in word and by example, and, in a moment in which Gov. Newsom could have triumphed, he unfortunately failed, and will see the repercussions.
As we continue into the winter months, please remember to be safe and act to protect those most at risk. Like previous infectious diseases before this, and ones that may come in the future, this, too, shall pass. So, let’s put our masks on, ready our Purell, and be responsible and caring Californians.
Feature Image: Courtesy of Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press
Jackie Au is a fourth-year Political Science major with a minor in Anthropology. This is her fourth year working for the QC and her third year as a Section Editor for Campus Life. She is also a member of the College’s Women’s Water Polo team. Her hobbies include road cycling, making pottery, and attempting to sell her silly little pots.