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A tale of two sets of rules

With each passing day, it becomes clearer that the United States has two sets of rules: one for the elites in the Democratic Party, the media and the entertainment industry, and a different one for Republicans and us poor slobs in flyover country.

Take the COVID-19 lockdown. While our economy goes into free fall, we’re told by politicians that businesses must stay closed, and everyone must stay home and engage in social distancing. Illinois, for example, is on lockdown until the end of this month, per Democratic Gov. Jay Pritzger’s orders. Meanwhile, Pritzger’s wife jets off to Florida. And Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (also a Democrat) gets to go to the salon to have her hair done. The press exaggerates and misstates President Donald Trump’s every utterance but ignores House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s absurd invitation to go visit Chinatown in San Francisco at the outset of the global pandemic, and forgives New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s earlier order requiring nursing homes — which have suffered the highest death rates from the virus — to take in coronavirus patients.

The double standard is even more egregious when it comes to the media’s treatment of Tara Reade’s accusations of sexual assault against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s 2018 confirmation hearings were a feeding frenzy. Christine Blasey Ford wrote a letter to her congresswoman in which she accused Kavanaugh of having kissed and groped her decades earlier at a high school party. The letter made its way to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose office allegedly leaked the letter to the press. Ford had no corroborating witnesses — and, by the way, never accused Kavanaugh of rape. But that didn’t stop the outrage chorus from calling Kavanaugh a rapist. Due process be damned, the left — male and female — rallied under the #BelieveWomen banner, insisting that the mere accusation meant Kavanaugh should be presumed guilty.

Reade, on the other hand, has accused Biden of rape, and more recently — in 1993, when he was a U.S. senator. But he’s a Democrat, so the rules are different. The press ignored the story as long as it could and then dismissed it, Reade’s corroborating evidence notwithstanding. Biden, of course, has denied Reade’s allegation. He (unlike Kavanaugh) is, of course, to be believed. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer proclaimed Biden’s denial is “sufficient.” The same Feinstein who had no trouble standing behind Ford and her 35-year-old accusations said of Reade, “I don’t know this person at all who has made the allegations. She came out of nowhere. Where has she been all these years?”

Yeah, OK.

Feinstein is not the only feminist to sell out. Author Linda Hirshman has made a career of feminist essays, including ones that excoriate educated women who leave the workforce to stay home and raise their children. Hirshman wrote a headline reading, “I Believe Tara Reade. I’m Voting for Joe Biden Anyway.” (Hirshman’s feminist evolution apparently has three stages: First: “pro-choice.” Next: “Sorry — wrong choice.” Now: “Ugly moral choice.” Got that?) Hirshman is not breaking new ground; so-called “feminists” like Gloria Steinem were defending former President Bill Clinton’s sexual depravity more than 20 years ago.

And it gets worse. Over the past week, evidence has emerged indicating that the FBI under then-President Barack Obama engaged in prosecutorial misconduct in its pursuit of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. This only adds to the stench surrounding the FBI’s unlawful efforts — including misleading federal judges — to spy on the Trump campaign (and, after Trump won the presidential election, on the incoming Trump administration) under a fictitious pretense of “collusion” with Russia.

Lefty talking heads have been screaming for four years that Trump is an aspiring fascist. But they don’t bat an eye at the actual abuse of government power that occurred during the Obama administration.

The self-appointed elites in this country are taking rank hypocrisy to new and dangerous levels. They know that the press will protect them, just as it did Clinton and Obama — and Harvey Weinstein and Ed Buck and Jeffrey Epstein and God only knows how many others. While Americans protest the unfairness of this double standard, the elites behave as if they are utterly unaccountable for and immune from any consequences.

They’re wrong.

There are two major risks to this behavior. The first is that when one side abandons standards, eventually, both sides do. We’re watching this phenomenon play out. The same people who needed smelling salts when Trump used nasty language told us, “It’s just sex,” when President Clinton engaged in sexual encounters with an intern in the Oval Office — and then lied about it under oath.

Eventually, it won’t just be politicians who abandon all semblance of virtue; it will be widespread, with all the corresponding cultural decay that this entails.

The second risk is perhaps more personal. That is the possibility that Americans will finally get fed up with the double standards, the lies, the hypocrisy and go after those who profit from it all. One can argue (and I have) that Trump’s election was, in no small part, such a reaction.

But the left — particularly the media — never learns. It doubles down. It reminds me a bit of the French nobility in 1788, still frantically clinging to the ancien regime. The stubbornness and sense of entitlement so prevalent in France’s ruling class didn’t end well for it.

Those who consider themselves our betters should take heed. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll lose their heads. But a great many of them should lose their jobs.

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