Christmas is almost here. Usually, it's the happiest time that we have. This year of all years, Christmas has a deeper resonance, something closer to its original meaning. In a time of crisis, you inevitably start thinking about the things you might ignore if you were busier and more content.
In general, people tend to become more spiritual, more openly religious when they're suffering. It's not an accident, in fact, it may be the upside of suffering. You get to think beyond the next Amazon delivery for a minute.
Of course, not everyone is in favor of all the focus on the big, enduring things -- like our families, what's true and what's not true, eternity itself. All of that tends to diminish the power of the people in charge of our temporal world. For obvious reasons, we take our leaders less seriously when we're reminded that they're people just like we are. They, too, will pass. Death is inevitable. That may be the one thing you're not allowed to say in this country, but it's still true, and maybe we should pause before we destroy the living in the name of trying to eliminate it.
Politicians understand this threat. They've figured out that Christmas is bigger than they are and as a result, some of them are trying hard to cancel it.
Earlier this week, the CDC incident manager, Dr. Henry Walke, declared that, "the best thing for Americans to do in the upcoming holiday season is to stay at home and not travel." You should know that Dr. Walke is a product of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. You may remember them as the people who just this summer were publicly encouraging Black Lives Matter to riot in our cities on medical grounds.
Now listen to Joe Biden explain how many Americans will die if we don't cancel Christmas:
BIDEN: We're likely to lose another 250,000 people dead between now and January. You hear me? Because people aren't paying attention.
"You hear me? Come on, man! Do what you're told! Cancel Christmas, or at least stop walking."
That's right, walking is now an unpatriotic act, as is bicycling and any contact with wheeled vehicles. That's the word from Los Angeles, our second largest city, which has just issued a new corona law. It bans "all travel," including "travel on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile or public transit". Movement itself is now illegal.
"Sorry, kids, public health emergency, internal passports are on the way. In the meantime, though, you've got Netflix and weed, so stop complaining."
In case you're confused by this guidance, Eric Garcetti would like to make it very simple for you. Eric Garcetti's title is mayor of Los Angeles. But over the years, his role has grown. He now wields powers we once associated with Enver Hoxha of Albania and certain ancient Phoenician gods:
GARCETTI: My message couldn't be simpler: It's time to hunker down. It's time to cancel everything, and if it isn't essential, don't do it. Don't meet up with others outside your household. Don't host a gathering. Don't attend a gathering.
"It's time to cancel everything," commands Lord Garcetti, and when he says "everything," he means "everything," up to and including your most sacred holiday time with your family and the illusion of free will itself. You were a citizen. Now you are a supplicant. And all it took was a single sentence from Eric Michael Garcetti.
A pandemic like this confers such powers. London Breed understood that very early. Breed is the mayor of San Francisco, apparently elected on the strength of her fascinating name, since she has no other obvious qualifications. On Oct. 30, Breed declared that the holidays are "superspreader events" and delivered the sad news that we can't celebrate anything this year.
BREED: What we've seen during holidays, sadly, is an uptick in the number of cases because people are choosing to come together. And sometimes these parties and these events and these gatherings, they could become superspreaders. It just takes one person who is infected to infect, you know, all of the people who attended a party. Even though this year will be a sacrifice, the sacrifice is worth it.
Eight days later, London Breed was shoveling down some of the world's most expensive food at The French Laundry restaurant up in Napa. Like Gov. Gavin Newsom, Breed is terrified of the dire public health implications of this pandemic we're living through, but she's not so concerned that she's willing to endure any personal inconvenience, no matter how small it might be. No Christmas for you, but London Breed's got to eat. And right now, she's in the mood for some celery root manicotti, followed perhaps by the all-day braised Snake River Farms beef cheek, $310 apiece on the tasting menu.
"The sacrifice is worth it."
Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, Texas, understands sacrifice. If you've been to Austin recently, you may have noticed huge numbers of mentally ill drug addicts crapping on the sidewalks and stealing things and mugging people. Steve Adler did that. Steve Adler wants to make Austin most welcoming to the people who contribute the least, and he's done that. He's also, needless to say, been extraordinarily worried about the coronavirus, so worried that he has commanded his constituents to stay home for the duration. He informed them of this from a timeshare in a Mexican beach resort. He'd flown there secretly on a private plane with a large number of people he is not related to. Sounds fun, but don't try it yourself. Steve Adler might punish you:
ADLER: And then we need to, you know, stay home, if you can. Do everything you can to try to keep the numbers down. This is not the time to to relax.
Yeah, unless you happen to have a private plane headed to Cabo, otherwise stay home. That was Mayor Adler's message to his people from the Mexican beach resort.
So what do we take from all of this? It's hypocrisy, of course, but it's deeper than that. The people giving us these highly specific orders don't believe the orders. They don't believe what they're saying. Obviously, they don't really think that COVID-19 is very dangerous. If they thought it was very dangerous, they would be following their own orders, but they're not.
Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein, for example, are both over 80 years old. They're in the target demo. They're at risk. And yet we know -- because it's on video -- that neither one is so worried about COVID-19 that they'll wear masks in private.
So what does that tell you? It tells you everything, and even slow people like us are starting to figure it out. Wednesday night, there was a demonstration outside a bar in New York called Mac's Public House. No cases of coronavirus have been traced to Max Public House, so the owner of the bar refused to shut down. He wanted to live like Gavin Newsom and London Breed and Nancy Pelosi. He wanted to live like an adult in America.
Unfortunately for him, he expressed these views out loud -- on television, in fact -- and that is definitely not allowed. So they arrested him immediately. And when they did, a crowd of people decided they'd had enough. No one from the CDC or the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health endorsed that protest. It was the wrong variety of politics and therefore a serious health risk to the nation (not enough vandalism, apparently), but we can expect more protests like it.
The effects of these lockdowns, the sacrifices we're being asked to make, are not evenly distributed across the country. Certain people, a small group of people, seem happier than ever. You notice a certain self-satisfied jauntiness behind their masks as they bark orders at you. But everyone else is dying a slow death.
One more question about all of this: If lockdowns work, why haven't they worked so far? We've been following increasingly specific orders all year. Some people haven't obeyed, but most people have because this is America and people want to do the right thing. And yet, after almost a year of this, the numbers keep rising. So is the lesson really that we need a whole lot more of what hasn't been working so far? How does that work, exactly?
This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson's opening monologue on the Dec. 3, 2020 edition of "Tucker Carlson Tonight."